Nekton is a not-for-profit research foundation and a UK registered charity established to accelerate the scientific exploration and protection of the ocean.

Our current knowledge is as shallow as the ocean is deep. But we can't protect what we don’t know. We know so little of this world yet we are wilfully damaging it with human actions from above and below the surface.

Nekton works with ocean nations to gain knowledge faster, so that we can better protect the ocean and share knowledge with the world. We therefore work in partnership with a wide range of organisations - from science to civil society, from media to government.

We work for the ocean. Our true independence comes from the fact that our client is not corporations or governments or NGOs but the ocean itself. And our client is struggling to survive. It comes down to each individual – we each have a say in the future.

Our Missions

Only 8% of the ocean is currently designated as marine protected areas (MPAs) – but actually only 2.5% is fully protected. We aim to achieve at least 30% by 2030, an ambitious goal but an essential one that we share with other partners globally.

Our Missions, in partnership with the people and organisations of ocean nations, are vital if we are to achieve that target. We co-develop and co-deliver these research programmes with policy-makers, scientists, businesses, teachers and story-tellers of each host nation, and are supported by our international alliance of partners.

Our Missions explore the ocean, driven by curiosity and the determination to use the knowledge we gain to serve the planet. Each Mission combines state-of-the-art technology, applied research, knowledge exchange, ocean policy initiatives and inspirational public engagement activities. We coordinate all these activities together to increase their collective impact. All data and biological specimens are owned and vested by the host nations.


We work on innovative projects with targeted outcomes to address the needs of our ocean.

From international ocean policy interventions to innovating ocean story-telling, and from making private vessels available to scientists to combatting Parachute Science, all of our initiatives further our aims of accelerating greater understanding of our ocean, how we protect it and inspiring public engagement.

Find out more about our initiatives here.