President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Monday paid a visit to the main ship of Nekton Maldives, ‘RV Odyssey’ and met with the team conducting an international science mission.
The President made the visit after wrapping up the ‘Viavathi Raajje’ conference in Laamu Atoll, prior to departure.
He was accompanied by Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology Aminath Shauna and Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Dr Hussain Rasheed.
Over the past two days, four Maldivian aquanauts have descended into the deep sea and collected data, which President Solih observed during this visit.
Today the President of the Maldives paid us a surprise visit to offer support for the Nekton Maldives Mission. President Solih was accompanied by government ministers who explained how critical Nekton’s work is for the nation’s understanding of what lives in the deep ocean. pic.twitter.com/L6iuuSeAGt— Nekton (@nektonmission) September 12, 2022
Nekton Maldives stated that their marine biologists and mapping experts were currently analyzing the data.
They also displayed 3D-generated imagery of the seabed off the coast of Laamu Atoll at 1400 ft to the President.
While meeting with the Marine Research Team, Minister Shauna said that we as Maldivians need to know more about our oceans and what is happening to them, and about the health of the oceans as well.
“I think it is critical that knowledge, data that you find within stays here (in Maldives)”
Meanwhile, the Fisheries Minister expressed that these surveys show the richness of the Maldivian seas.
On Sunday, September 11, Scientist Shafiya Naeem along with research assistant colleague Farah Amjad made history by leading an all-female crew of aquanauts on the maiden dive of the Nekton Maldives Mission with the deep descent into the twilight zone.
This expedition is a joint initiative by UK-based Nekton and the Maldivian government to map, sample and gather data on ocean health which can inform policymakers both in the Maldives and beyond, as the climate crisis deepens.
The scientists will map, sample, and gather data on ocean health which can inform policymakers both in the Maldives and beyond, as the climate crisis deepens.
Nekton stated that there are almost no images of Maldivian waters below 30 meters, hence travelling to that depth itself was historical.
In the mission control room we revealed 3D generated imagery of the seabed off the coast of Laamu Atoll from the surface to 1400ft to @ibusolih. Previously no maps have existed below scuba depth in the Maldives. pic.twitter.com/s5j3fOmxXV— Nekton (@nektonmission) September 12, 2022
While there are a total of 40 partners in the expedition, this includes 16 Maldivians. Moreover, there are 10 Maldivian marine scientists on the team that will be descending underwater.
The research will conclude on October 7, and in that duration the scientists will travel from Laamu atoll to the southernmost regions, working on gathering samples from different areas.
Participants hope to get a look at 1,000 meters below the Maldivian waters as well.