A New Zealand academic says seabed mining exploration could help fill gaps in scientific knowledge.
There's been calls from Pacific NGOs for a moratorium on seabed mining exploration.
The Cook Islands last week opened bidding on licences for exploring the seabed's potential for mining.
A law professor at the University of Waikato, Barry Barton, says the exploration could help shed light on unanswered questions.
"At the early stages there is going to be a lot of benefit to be had in getting to understand the ocean resources and the ocean environments of the Cook Islands. So there is an element of opportunity at a minimum to start getting environmental baseline information to guide decision makers of the future."
University of Waikato Professor Barry Barton.