A commissioner with the newly formed Global Ocean Commission says island countries in the Pacific need to unite to ensure they get benefits from any seabed mining in the international waters that surround them.
A former Ulu of Tokelau, Faipule Foua Toloa, says island countries are not ready for the impact of mining on the sea floor.
He says companies expect to make billions of dollars from the mining of seabed minerals and the island countries should receive some of this, even when it is in international waters.
Faipule Foua says any decision is up to the United Nations body, the Seabed Mining Authority, which is charged with issuing licences.
"And also come up with a formula of how the revenue from this is divided amongst developing countries. I know they haven't come up with any but this is the area whereby the Pacific has to be united in whatever process they will be taking, because it is just at their back door."
Tokelau's Faipule Foua Toloa.