The Mission

‘We are running out of excuses to not take action, and running out of time…. the time to act is now.”

- H.E. Danny Faure, President of Seychelles, 124m below the ocean surface, Nekton Mission, April 14th 2019

The Mission

Working for and with the Government of Seychelles, First Descent: Seychelles combines applied research, knowledge exchange and public engagement activities to support the Government’s commitments to protect over 400,000km2- 30% of their ocean territory and the sustainable development of their Blue Economy. The objectives and outcomes are co-defined and co-delivered with Seychelles partners. All data is owned and vested in Seychelles.

Seychelles are a beacon and bellwether for ocean conservation in the Indian Ocean and globally. First Descent: Seychelles is the first in a series of missions with ocean nations in the Indian Ocean that concludes with a regional summit in 2020 to galvanise 30% protection by 2030.

Read the full cruise report here

Seychelles Partners

  • Government: Office of the President; Ministries of i) Environment, Energy and Climate Change, ii) Education, iii) Blue Economy and iv) Tourism.
  • Academic:National Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation (NISTI); University of Seychelles (UniSey),.
  • Civil Society: Island Conservation Society (ICS), Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF), Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCCS), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Seychelles Conservation & Climate Change Adaptation Trust (SeyCATT).
  • Parastatal: Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC).

Applied Research

Very little systemic research has been undertaken beneath 30metres (scuba depth) across Seychelles’ vast ocean territory of 1.37 million km2. Co-defined and co-delivered with the goal is to contribute to marine spatial planning being conducted by The Nature Conservancy and help establish a baseline that includes data from depth about marine life and ocean health. Research is focused on understanding how and why biological communities change across depth and geography. The deeper reef habitats, that are a primary focus, are home to a high diversity of organisms but are being impacted by human activities.

Knowledge Exchange

To support the development of long-term sustainable ocean governance, Grants with SeyCCAT – the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust, Fellowships with the University of Oxford, training at sea and on shore, joint data analysis and publications are implemented for Seychellois scientists.

Public Engagement

Seychellois and international scientists lead nation and international coverage of the mission including the first live submersible documentary series and newscasts (with Associated Press and Sky). H.E. Danny Faure broadcasts the first live subsea Presidential Address. Participating Seychellois scientists undertake the first submersible dives and establish a new cadre of ocean leaders in the national, regional and international spotlight. National and international media coverage strengthens sustainable marine tourism and strengthens public support for political action.

Marine Operations

Nearly 50 days at sea, covering 2300 nautical miles, a team of 60 from 14 different nations aboard on the Mothership, the Ocean Zephyr, the Mission undertook over 300 science deployments, across 7 key locations in the previously unexplored depths of the Seychelles.

The Alliance

First Descent: Seychelles is a unique collaboration of 12 Seychellois government, academic and civil society organisations supported by 30 international partners led by Mission Partners Omega and Kensington Tours and Strategic Partners - the Commonwealth, Teledyne Marine (Subsea Technology) Associated Press (News Agency), Sky (News & Media Partner), Inmarsat (Satellite Communications), Helly Hansen (Apparel), Brownies Global Logistics (Submersible Operations).