Window on an underwater kingdom
Bermuda will play host to the first stage of a groundbreaking new research project designed to help save the world’s oceans.
The Ocean Tech initiative will bring together the world’s top marine scientists with state-of-the-art submersible technologies to gather crucial information about the secret lives of whales, dolphins and sharks.
The team will begin work on island next June and will join several local marine experts including Bermudian Choy Aming.
Mr Aming, the joint expedition leader, told The Royal Gazette the project was “exciting and important to Bermuda” for a raft of reasons.
“We are going to have some of the latest, greatest technology on the island and using it here for the first time,” he said.
“A lot of this equipment is brand new and to have machinery like the Remus-100 here is a huge opportunity.
“Bermuda is the obvious place to start this next venture; we have a lot of the crew here already and we have the experience from Ocean Vet too.
“This will also add another level to some of the local conservation projects we have going on at the moment.”
The Ocean Tech team will be in Bermuda until September 2017 when the project will be temporarily shut down for the winter.
They will then return to the island between March and May 2018 for the humpback whale season before moving to the United States and teaming up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association in Marine Mammal Sanctuaries.
“The health of our oceans affects every person on this planet and marine protected areas are our greatest weapon in the fight to save marine species from extinction,” Ocean Tech’s chief scientist, Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley, said.
The project’s chief engineer, Amy Kukulya, added: “Ocean Tech will use a suite of pioneering technologies, including the REMUS-100, a unique autonomous underwater vehicle, to reveal never-before-seen behaviour of some of the most charismatic species on our planet.”
The pioneering project comes on the back of the successful Ocean Vet television series that provided a unique insight of Bermuda’s marine wildlife.
UK firm Gass Productions. which produced Ocean Vet, will also be working on the Ocean Tech project to drive an international media campaign that will include feature-length documentaries, global exhibits and a worldwide education programme. Andrew Smith, Ocean Tech’s executive director, said: “Without data, it’s very difficult to justify marine-protected areas to policymakers so the rapid acquisition of data is Ocean Tech’s core goal.”
Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society, said: “Ocean Tech is a powerful scientific research project aimed to gather crucial data that governments and conservation organisations need to implement marine protected areas.
“It’s a platform for action and global inspiration; providing a unique window into the secret lives of our planets most iconic marine species: whales, dolphins and sharks.”
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