A seabed mining expert has urged youth leaders from around the region to help safeguard their countries by asking essential questions about the industry.
The young people were briefed about the risks and benefits of sea bed mining during a summit for future leaders in Pago Pago last week.
Dr Allen Clarke of Hawaii's East West Center told delegates they should ask whether the industry is economically viable for their country, whether agreed policies were in place and what their country's role and investment should be.
"But there's one overarching gorilla in the family and that's the whole issue of environment. What about the whole environmental thing here. That's huge. That really is huge."
Dr Allen Clarke of Hawaii's East West Center