Nekton Mission's data to be made public

The videos and data collected in the Nekton Maldives Mission will be made public on Monday, Nekton's CEO Oliver Steeds has said.

The Nekton Maldives Mission set sail on September 4th to undertake the first systematic survey and sampling of the ocean surrounding the Maldives from the surface to 1000 meters below sea level.

CEO Steeds met with reporters at the President's Office on Sunday. Fisheries Minister Dr. Hussain Rashid Hassan and British High Commissioner to the Maldives Karen Rohser were also present at the press conference. Along with Nekton's Principal Scientist Dr. Lucy Woodall, Maldives Marine Research Institute's Marine Biologist Mohamed Shimal also briefed reporters.

Steeds said the videos and data collected during the first-ever Nekton Maldives Mission survey would be made public on Monday. However, the full results of these studies are scheduled to be released next year.

Steeds said Nekton headed for a study of the Maldives' seas following a suggestion by the Seychelles President after a study conducted in Seychelles. The Nekton team first met President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih through the President of Seychelles, he said. The decision to conduct the survey in the Maldives was taken after it was agreed that all the information obtained in the survey would be the property of the Maldives, he said.

"Nekton and the Maldives will work together at all stages of the survey, including studying the findings and presenting the results," Steeds said.

Steeds acknowledged the assistance received from the Fisheries Ministry, the Environment Ministry, and the Maldives Marine Research Institute.

Fisheries Minister Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan said the survey was conducted by local marine scientists and international scientists, including scientists from Indian Ocean countries.

Briefing the media on the work done under the project, Minister Hussain Rasheed said a submersible was used to obtain data from a depth of 500 meters and that videos were captured in a remotely operated vessel up to 900 meters. The study covered a total area of ​​300 square kilometers from the Male' Atoll to the eastern tip of the southern atolls. The area has now been mapped, he said.

"300 square kilometers is equivalent to the size of the Maldives' entire dry land. An area equal to the Maldives' dry land has been mapped in this study," he said.

There has been no proper study of the deep seas of the Maldives until now. The findings of the study, which include information on sea life beyond 1,000 meters below sea level, will benefit Maldivian scientists in their future research and studies.