E X P L O R E • U N D E R S T A N D • P R O T E C T

E X P L O R E • U N D E R S T A N D • P R O T E C T

Oceanic and Deep-Sea Conservation in the Coral Triangle

Oceanic and Deep-Sea Conservation in the Coral Triangle

The ocean is within all of us and is an essential part of our very existence.

Planet Deep focuses on oceanic whales and dolphins, and their deep-sea habitats, in the remote regions of the Coral Triangle – the “bull’s eye” of global marine biodiversity:

Indonesia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Deep-sea and oceanic species and habitats are important to marine conservation, yet often overlooked.  Within the Coral Triangle, these habitats are routinely located close to shore due to the lack of a continental shelf and extreme depth gradients.  Near-shore waters can plunge from the tropical beaches to over 4000m in depth along spectacular “drop-offs” into the abyss or towards nearby seamounts.   This amazing proximity of “near-shore yet deep-sea habitats” also means that large migratory marine life and deep-diving species venture close to the island’s coastlines, and into narrow passages and secluded bays – including blue and sperm whales.  This spectacular behaviour creates both opportunities and challenges for marine science, conservation as well as marine adventure tourism.

Our main areas of interest are in Indonesia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

In these countries we focus on specific oceanic habitats:

  • Migratory (and ecological) corridors;
  • Canyons, trenches and sills; seamounts, vents and pinnacles;
  • Persistent pelagic habitats (e.g. seasonal upwelling zones and oceanic fronts); L
  • Large-scale current systems; and drop-offs near oceanic islands.

And equally important, the actual habitat use by large marine life:
Oceanic cetaceans (migratory and residential species, including blue, sperm, beaked and Brydes whales and oceanic dolphin); marine turtles; oceanic sharks and rays (e.g. whale sharks and mantas), sunfishes, billfish and tuna; diverse yet vulnerable benthic communities associated with corridors, seamounts and/or other deep-sea features.

There is now a pressing need for improved management and conservation of these sensitive marine habitats and important marine species – often endangered and/or protected – in these waters.

Throughout the waters of the Coral Triangle, here are many current and emerging threats to deep-water habitats and species including: increasing fishing pressure (i.e. targeting seamounts and upwelling zones); over-exploitation of oceanic marine life and their prey species; fisheries interactions (e.g. net entanglement and by-catch); accidental ingestion and uptake of marine debris (plastic trash) concentrated in areas of increased ocean productivity (and thus in important habitats for oceanic marine life); ship strikes (i.e. for whale sharks and large cetaceans); acoustic habitat degradation from ocean noise (shipping, seismic surveys, offshore energy); deep-sea mining; and impacts of climate change.

Planet Deep’s mission is to safeguard these vital “ Oceanic Oases”.  Our projects are designed to:

  • gather much-needed data on these poorly understood “deep divers” and their deep-sea habitat use.
  • support the on-going development and management of Marine Protected Areas and MPA Networks.
  • help build local awareness and build local capacity through education and outreach projects as well as field training opportunities

We work to increase the representation of deep-sea and oceanic habitats in Marine Protected Area Networks of the Coral Triangle (as part of the Indo-Pacific region). Read more on our Ocean Action at the United Nations Oceans Conference here

We also recognise that education and awareness is a crucial part of the conservation puzzle, and often to change an outcome, behaviour or a decision, it’s a case of “you protect what you love”.

Planet Deep’s concept of “Conservation Travel” includes a series of Ocean Conservation Expeditions that you are welcome to participate in, and experience first-hand some of the most amazing ocean wilderness that remains on our deep blue planet.   Our Ocean Conservation Expeditions are now in their 5th year, and we consider ourselves leaders in the emerging “Conservation Travel” sector.

Ocean Conservation Expeditions are based on 5-star luxurious live-aboard vessels that Planet Deep has “re-purposed” to dive, snorkel, explore and survey some of the most remote and spectacular corners of the Coral Triangle.

Our expeditions contribute directly to whale and ocean conservation and the development of well-managed Marine Protected Areas for the deep sea.

Join us to explore and help protect the remote waters of the Coral Triangle!

We also conduct special interest expeditions on specific conservation themes such as marine debris, and migratory marine species management. Our projects help support scientists in the field and are conducted in partnership with other organisations.

Our Ocean Conservation Expeditions can also be adapted for film and documentary productions.
Read more here…on Planet Deep Ocean Conservation Expeditions.

Planet Deep’s multi-faceted approach and focus on the conservation of priority species helps to safeguard the last remaining oceanic wilderness in the Coral Triangle.

Because quite literally, we all need healthy oceans not “only” to survive, but also to thrive.




Our curiosity must be insatiable: relentless exploration in pursuit of understanding and ultimately, protection.

Deep Sustainability

Sustainable development and “The Blue Economy” is at the heart of everything we do.


Planet Deep’s mission to explore, understand and protect, cannot be achieved without engagement, collaboration and education.



Coral Triangle

Planet Deep’s geographical focal area is the Coral Triangle (CT). The CT is the global centre for marine biodiversity and is an ecosystem that covers 5.7 million square km2.

Deep Sea Habitats & Species

Our focus is the nearshore but deep-sea habitats. The Coral Triangle hosts some of the deepest water on the planet: ‘Planet Deep’ has by far the most extreme habitat diversity, yet near shore proximity.

Current and Emerging Threats

There are many current and emerging threats to deep-water habitats and species throughout the waters of the Coral Triangle, and there is a pressing need for improvements to their management and conservation.



Our story is a little bit different; we are a group of people with diverse backgrounds, but with a combined passion for the ocean and desire to address a major gap in marine conservation.



The inspiration for the Planet Deep logo comes from a very powerful cultural symbol from the Massim region of Papua New Guinea, in our focal Coral Triangle area.


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