The Nekton Maldives Mission has completed its underwater survey of the Maldives.
Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nekton Oliver Steeds, and the British High Commissioner to the Maldives Caron Rohsler attended a press conference held at the President’s Office to brief the public on the survey.
Speaking to the press, Minister Hussain said the next step is to study the data collected from the survey. He said the surveys will be researched in the United Kingdom (UK) and discussions are underway to find a way to involve Maldivian scientists in the process.
Furthermore, Minister Hussain said a dive to a depth of 500m was conducted to collect data for the survey. He said underwater videos up to 900m have been taken and a large amount of data and samples have been collected.
Nekton Mission surveyed the area from Male’ Atoll to Addu Atoll. As such, the survey discovered a 1,500m-high seamount in the Suvadiva Channel in Huvadhoo Atoll. It took about 12 hours to discover the size of the mountain. In addition, Nekton Maldives Mission collected data on the tiger shark population in Fuvahmulah City which is home to one of the largest populations of tiger sharks in the world. The healthiest shark population has been found on Fuvahmulah, according to the data collected so far.
Speaking at the conference, Oliver Steeds told reporters that the sea level in the Maldives was 120m deep thousands of years ago. He said the survey also noted the direction salt water travels and the waves. He said the study began with the agreement that all data collected would be owned by the Maldives, adding that all stages of the survey were conducted in collaboration with the Maldives.
The survey used videos to look closely at the presence of life at different depths of the sea and its surroundings and samples were taken. The study examined the formation of the seabed, what species live in different areas, and why they live in those areas. The survey shows that the deeper the sea, the more life there is. One example is the richness and pleasantness of marine life at a depth of 500m compared to 200m.
The study of the seabed has been done in the past. However, Nekton Maldives Mission has gone to the depths of the ocean to study underwater life and soil. The study will also provide important information for the conservation of marine life in the Maldives.