The Expedition

‘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 Goal:

To undertake at least 50 submersible dives to generate critical data, develop local research expertise and gain public support to underpin Seychelles’ commitment to manage their national waters including the 30% protected.

The Science:

Very little systemic research has been undertaken beneath 30metres (scuba depth) across Seychelles’ vast ocean territory of 1.37 million km2. The objective is to contribute to establishing a baseline of marine life and the state of the ocean in Seychelles. 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 and Ocean Governance:

Working with Seychelles partners we have co-created a programme of opportunities for local marine scientists to lead and participate in all aspects of the expedition, from research design to concluding outputs, to support sharing of leadership, tools, skills, knowledge and networks across the team to empower long-term sustainable ocean governance.

The Alliance:

First Descent is a unique collaboration of over 40 leading organisations combining marine research, subsea technology, media and civil society. It is one of the most ambitious non-governmental marine expeditions ever mounted. First Descent is led by Mission Partners Omega and Kensington Tours.

Nearly 50 days at sea, covering 2300 nautical miles, with a team of up to 60 on our Mothership, the Ocean Zephyr, we undertook over 300 science deployments, across 7 key locations in the previously unexplored depths of the Seychelles, helping to provide key data and new skills to inform the protection of 30% of Seychelles EEZ (equivalent in size to twice the UK).

It took 48 people from 14 different nations to make this incredible expedition a reality.