Today we announce the release of the 2022 Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment, the most comprehensive assessment of the technical and human capacity for deep-sea exploration and research in every coastal country and territory with deep ocean worldwide. The report presents global and regional results related to organizational infrastructure, technical capacity, access to deep-sea tools, satisfaction with those tools, and the most significant deep-sea challenges and opportunities each region faces.
This report documented significant global inequities in deep-sea exploration worldwide. Previous studies underrepresented these capabilities by gathering feedback from a limited set of countries. We made a concerted effort to conduct outreach to communities often not included in surveys of this kind–an effort that is necessary to ensure equity is at the heart of all future ocean exploration. The results demonstrated that very few countries have the ability to explore their own deep ocean.
Ocean exploration is still a significant perpetrator of colonial science because the current tools are expensive and inaccessible. We need to create inclusive tools, training, and access that open this area of exploration up to everyone worldwide. I hope this report will provide the information needed for the ocean community to strategically develop, equitably implement, and quantitatively measure the progress of deep-sea exploration and research capacity development throughout the Ocean Decade.
I want to express my gratitude for the amazing team who made the Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment possible, in particular Maud Quinzin, Susan Poulton, and the global research team, the My Deep Sea, My Backyard team, who inspired the project from the outset, our authorship and translation team, and the hundreds of survey participants who contributed their knowledge and perspectives to this critical project.
Finally, please save the date for our 2022 Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment webinar on Thursday, October 6, at 11:00 am ET. This will be the first in a series of online events this fall, where we will dive into the results–and possible solutions–revealed in the report.
Transformative change is on the horizon, and we all have a role to play!
Katy Croff Bell
Founder & President
Ocean Discovery League