A scientific research charity is undertaking the gargantuan task of giving the ocean a health check-up - so it can set standards for other marine biologists to adhere to in the future.
Nekton is conducting the XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey in Bermuda, the Sargasso Sea and an area off Nova Scotia, with the key aim being to establish a documented baseline of ocean health.
The submersibles being used cost $2.2m and can carry a two-person crew to 1,000m deep.
The mission was spurred on by the fact ocean acidity has increased by 30% since the beginning of the industrial revolution. More than 27% of global fish stocks are unsustainably fished and, if this continues, many of the world’s marine species may be on the brink of extinction by 2100.
Climate change, over-fishing, pollution and acidification are causing the ocean to suffer its most extreme disruption for at least 250 million years, with scientists warning humans are creating the conditions necessary to produce the planet’s third great mass extinction event.
But, it’s not all bad news, as Professor Alex Rogers, principal scientists on the Nekton Mission, explains.