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 first descents to generate critical data, develop local research expertise and gain public support to underpin Seychelles’ commitment to protect 30% of their national waters by 2020.

The Science:

Very little 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 from the surface into the Bathyal Zone (200m to 3000m), home to the greatest patterns of biodiversity and impact of human activities on these vital ecosystems.

Capacity Development and Ocean Governance:

Working for and on behalf of Seychelles we are co-creating a programme of opportunities for local marine scientists to participate in all aspects of the expedition, from research design to concluding outputs, to support the development of leadership, tools, skills, knowledge and networks within Seychelles to empower long-term sustainable ocean governance. Together with new expedition datasets and research findings this enables us to support Seychelles in successful implementation of its Marine Spatial Plan, including protection of 30% of its national waters, in support of a sustainable Blue Economy.

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.