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70% of nations have deep-sea environments within their maritime Exclusive Economic Zones, yet only 16% of them are able to explore those environments. This is especially true for less economically developed countries. The dearth of technological capability and knowledge leads to a lack of exploration, inappropriate or inadequate management decisions, and unaware populations. Our pilot project will begin to change this by empowering nations to explore their own deep-sea backyards using low-cost technology, while building lasting in-country capacity.
‘My Deep Sea, My Backyard’ takes place in two small island developing states – the Republic of Kiribati and Trinidad and Tobago – from summer 2018 to summer 2019. It utilizes deep-sea Drop Cameras developed by National Geographic’s Exploration Technology team and OpenROV’s Trident Remotely Operated Vehicles to explore our mesophotic zone and deep ocean for the first time. Both technologies collect compelling imagery, but require minimal resources and expertise.
Why should we explore our deep ocean?
The deep ocean is not only our largest ecosystem here in Trinidad and Tobago but also in the world, providing over 95% of all habitable space on Earth! It sequesters carbon reducing the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere, cycles nutrients and even aids in detoxification. It also provides us with key resources such as food, oil and gas, metals, pharmaceuticals, and, of course, inspires us! This is especially true in Trinidad and Tobago with the exploration for deepwater oil and gas reserves, a key source of economic development, currently underway. We need to understand our deep sea in order to know how we are impacting it and therefore how to manage it, and we can only do this by first discovering what habitats and communities exist. Remember: Our planet cannot be healthy without a healthy deep ocean!
What’s the plan for ‘My Deep Sea, My Backyard’ in Trinidad and Tobago?
- 13th to 17th August 2018 – Launch and Training Workshop at UWI, St. Augustine
- August 2018 to July 2019 – Deep-sea deployments around Trinidad and Tobago
- 1st and 2nd November 2018 – Deep-sea careers events with NIHERST and Green Screen
- 8th and 10th November 2018 – Project updates during All Hands on Deck, the National Ocean Exploration Forum, at MIT Media Lab in Boston, USA
- TBD 2019 – Hands-on exploration for kids using a Remotely Operated Vehicle
- TBD 2019 – More deep-sea careers events
- TBD 2019 – A deep-sea exhibition featuring photos, videos and samples collected off Trinidad and Tobago, as well as deep-sea inspired pieces of art
If you would like to be a part of ‘My Deep Sea, My Backyard’ (e.g. as a funder or participant, to provide boat access, or to host a deep-sea event at your school), please get in touch here .