Isabela Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Bangladesh, has launched a five-day expedition to the Swatch of No-Ground, which is a submarine canyon in the Bay of Bengal.
RV Meen Sandhani, a survey and research ship, set out for the expedition from port city Chittagong's Marine Fisheries jetty aruond 11:30am on Sunday.
The expedition is part of a joint research programme of the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry and Isabela Foundation.
A total of 40 researchers from 12 departments under different organisations will delve into the submarine canyon with modern equipment to collect detailed information of its biodiversity.
Swatch of No-Ground, also known as Ganga Trough, crosses the continental shelf diagonally. It is more than 900 metres in depth in some places.
The canyon is a comparatively flat floor and five to seven kilometres wide with an inclination of 12 degrees.
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One of the most unexplored marine ecosystem on earth, Swatch of No-Ground globally famous for its cetacean – whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea turtles and other rare species – population.
A part of it was announced as the country's first Marine Protected Area (MPA) by the Ministry of Environment and Forest in 2014.
In March last, a team of 13 Bangladeshi researchers mapped the canyon, while the ongoing expedition is a follow-up to the research.
During the latest expedition, it was revealed that the Swatch of No-Ground covers 173,800 hectares area and is one of the 11 deepest canyons in the world.
Known as the treasure trove of marine biota, the canyon, formed over 125,000 years ago, holds a special significance in terms of the prospects of the “blue economy” of the country.