Whale Watch Kaikoura says seabed mining in the Chatham Rise should not be approved until its effect on whales is researched.
Exploration company Chatham Rock Phosphate has already gained a permit and now needs permission from the Environment Protection Authority in order to mine 1.5 million tonnes of phosphate a year for fertiliser.
The EPA has raised concerns the mining proposal could damage the habitat of fish species and affect eco-tourism businesses such as Whale Watch Kaikoura.
Whale Watch Kaikoura's general manager Kauahi Ngapora said the proposal lacks information on how mining would affect feeding grounds for whales, and no decisions should be made until that information is available.
Whales are an important economic driver for the entire Kaikoura community and need to be protected, he said.