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Region Results: Asia

Detailed results on the deep-sea capacity of 33 Asian geographical areas, including indices for subregional comparisons.

Published onSep 12, 2022
Region Results: Asia
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1. Region Overview

Asia has five subregions: Western Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Southern Asia, and Southeastern Asia (Figure 1). These subregions encompass 48 geographical areas (GeoAreas), all of which are sovereign countries (Figure 2A; Asia GeoAreas) [1]. Twelve GeoAreas in Asia are high income (25%), 13 are upper-middle income (27%), 18 are lower-middle income (38%), four are low income (8%), and one is not economically classified (2%) (Figure 2B; Asia Income Groups) [2]. Four GeoAreas in Asia are Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Bahrain, Maldives, Singapore, and Timor-Leste (Asia GeoAreas) [1].

Figure 1

Asia Subregions
Map of Asia showing the four subregions used in the 2022 Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment: Western Asia, Southern Asia, Eastern Asia, and Southeastern Asia. Central Asia is not included because it has no marine exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Light orange indicates the EEZs of Asia. [1][3][4][5]


This assessment included information about the technical and human capacity of 33 GeoAreas in Asia. For 24 GeoAreas, we collected both survey and research data; for six GeoAreas, we collected only research data; and for three GeoAreas, we gathered only survey data (Figure 2C; Asia Data Sources). We did not collect data on fifteen GeoAreas because they have no ocean (e.g., Tajikistan, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Armenia) or less than 1% of their EEZ is deeper than 200 m (e.g., Qatar, Bahrain, Singapore). Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan claim EEZs in the Caspian Sea but are not included in this assessment due to a lack of marine jurisdiction.

Figure 2

GeoArea Information
(A) Number of sovereign countries (blue) in each subregion of Asia. (B) Number of high income (blue), upper middle income (orange), lower middle income (yellow), low income (teal), and not classified (grey) GeoAreas in each subregion of Asia. (C) Number of GeoAreas in Asia with survey and research data (blue), survey data only (orange), research data only (yellow), and no data (grey) used in this assessment for each subregion. [1][2]


Thirty-six GeoAreas in Asia claim marine EEZs, covering 22,353,000 km2 (Figure 3; Asia EEZs) [3][4][5]. Of those, 30 Asian GeoAreas have deep ocean in their EEZs (>200 meters below sea level; mbsl), encompassing an area of approximately 16,271,000 km2, or 73% of the total EEZ area within the jurisdiction of Asian GeoAreas. 

Figure 3

Exclusive Economic Zones
(A) Number of GeoAreas with >1% deep ocean within their EEZ (blue), <1% deep ocean within their EEZ (orange), and no EEZ (yellow). (B) Area of each depth zone for all EEZs claimed in each subregion of Asia. (C) Area of EEZs in Asia by oceanographic depth zone. [3][4][5]


While Western Asia has the greatest number of GeoAreas with deep ocean in their EEZs, it claims the smallest area of deep ocean within their EEZs. On the other hand, Southeastern Asia has the largest EEZ area, encompassing nearly the same area as all other subregions’ EEZs combined. Southeastern Asia also has the largest area of deep ocean within its EEZs. Indonesia, Japan, India, the Philippines, and the Maldives have the largest deep ocean areas within their EEZs in Asia. 

The largest depth zone by area lies 2,000-4,000 mbsl, covering 28% of all Asian EEZs, followed by 0 to 200 mbsl (27% of all Asian EEZs). The largest depth zone in Western and Southern Asia is between 2,000-4,000 mbsl. In Eastern Asia, the largest depth zone is 4,000-6,000 mbsl. In Southeastern Asia, the largest depth zone is 0-200 mbsl, and the largest deep-sea zone is 4,000-6,000 mbsl.

2. Survey Responses & Demographics

2.1 Geographic & Demographic Representation

Respondents were asked four questions about their geographic and demographic representation: which GeoArea they represent, in what GeoArea they live, their gender identification, and their age group.

Which GeoArea would you like to represent for this survey? (Q1)
Seventy-five complete surveys representing 27 GeoAreas in Asia were submitted to the Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment Survey (Figure 4). Thirty-five responses were for Western Asia, 13 for Southern Asia, 12 for Eastern Asia, and 15 for Southeastern Asia. We received the most survey responses for the Republic of Korea (11), Israel (10), and Pakistan (4). We received only one survey response for each of nine GeoAreas. Almost all respondents lived in the GeoArea they represented (95%).

Figure 4

Respondent Geographic Representation
GeoAreas in Asia with one survey response (A), 2-3 survey responses (B), 4-9 survey responses (C), and 10 or more survey responses (D). [3][4][5]

Figure 5

Respondent Demographic Representation
(A)
Gender identity of survey respondents for each subregion of Asia. (B) Number of survey respondents by age group for each subregion of Asia.

As what gender do you identify? (Q41)
Sixty of the respondents for Asia were male (80%), while 12 were female (16%), one was gender fluid (1%), and two preferred not to answer (3%) (Figure 5A). More men than women responded for every subregion in Asia.

What is your age? (Q39)
Overall, there was a relatively even representation of age groups from 25 to 64 years old across Asia (15-21 responses from each age group) (Figure 5B). There were no responses from the 18-24 year age group.

2.2 Professional Representation

Respondents were asked four questions about their professional representation: what is their highest level of education completed, in what organizational sector do they work, what are their primary roles, and in what marine environments do they work.

What is the highest degree or education level you have completed? (Q42)
The majority of respondents for Asia held advanced degrees: 48 had a doctorate (64%), and 18 had a master's degree (24%). Four held a bachelor's degree (5%), and five completed some graduate school, high school, or other education (7%) (Figure 6A).

What is the organizational sector of your affiliation? (Q43)
Most respondents for Asia worked in academia (55%) or government (31%). Smaller percentages of respondents worked for not-for-profit organizations (9%), non-governmental organizations (3%), or other sectors (3%) (Figure 6B).

Figure 6

Respondent Professional Representation
(A)
Completed education level of respondents for each subregion of Asia. (B) Organizational sector of respondents for each subregion: academia (Acad), government (Gov), not-for-profit (NFP), non-governmental organization (NGO), or other. (C) Number of respondents who identified with up to three roles that they represent in their communities: science/research (Sci), education/outreach (Edu), conservation/advocacy (Cons), management/policy/law (Mgt), student/early career researcher (ECR), engineering/technology (Eng), developing nation/community (Dev), aquatics/recreation (Aqua), traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), Government (Gov), or other.


What are the primary roles you represent in your GeoArea? (Q5)
Respondents were asked to select up to three primary roles they represented in their communities from a list of the following options: science/research, education/outreach, policy/law/management/government, developing nation/community, engineering/technology, traditional knowledge, aquatics/recreation, industry/investment, philanthropy, student/early career, conservation/advocacy they were also allowed to enter free-text if a role of theirs was not an option.

Respondents were asked to identify up to three primary roles they represented in their communities (Figure 6C). Sixty-four considered themselves scientists or researchers (85%), 34 worked in education and outreach (45%), and 14 in conservation (9%). Nine worked in each of the areas of management/policy/law and engineering/technology (12% each). Nine were students or early career researchers (12%). Fewer respondents represented developing nations & communities, aquatics or recreation, traditional ecological knowledge, and other roles.

If you carry out field research, in what marine environment(s) do you work? (Q6)
Respondents were asked to select all marine environments in which they do field work from a list of the following options: inshore, nearshore, continental shelf, deepwater, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a marine environment in which they work was not an option.

Figure 7

Respondent Field Research Environments
Number of respondents who work in each marine environment, by subregion of Asia: inshore, nearshore, continental shelf (Shelf), deep ocean (Deep), other areas (Other), or none of the above (None).

The largest fraction of respondents worked in the nearshore environment (60%) (Figure 7). 

Approximately half of the respondents for Asia worked in the deep-sea environment (49%). Eastern Asia had the most significant fraction of respondents who worked in deep water (83%), followed by Western Asia (51%), Southeastern Asia (40%), and Southern Asia (23%). Forty-five respondents (61%) worked in more than one field environment. Seven respondents (9%) worked in other environments or did not conduct fieldwork.

3. Issues, Challenges, & Opportunities

3.1 Highlights

  • Issues | Basic science & exploration, offshore oil & gas, and fisheries & aquaculture were respondents' three most important deep-sea issues.

  • Challenges | Funding, access to vessels, and human capacity were the three most important challenges identified by respondents for Asia.

  • Opportunities | Less expensive data collection technology, training opportunities, and connecting with others were identified as the most exciting opportunities by respondents for Asia.

3.2 Deep-Sea Issues

What are the three most important deep-sea issues in your GeoArea? (Q3)
Respondents were asked to select up to three deep-sea issues that they considered most important for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: basic science & exploration, fisheries & aquaculture, seabed mining, conservation & protection, maritime archaeology & history, offshore oil & gas, renewable energy, safety & security, telecommunications, and climate change; they were also allowed to enter free-text if an issue was not an option.

Basic science & exploration (20% of all selections), offshore oil & gas (19%), and fisheries & aquaculture (15%) were the three most important issues across Asia identified by respondents (Table 1).

Table 1

Subregion of Asia

Most important deep-sea issues identified by respondents for Asia

Western Asia

Offshore oil & gas (23%)
Basic science & exploration (17%)
Conservation & protection (16%)

Southern Asia

Offshore oil & gas (21%)
Fisheries & aquaculture (21%)
Conservation & protection (18%)

Eastern Asia

Basic science & exploration (22%)
Fisheries & aquaculture (17%)
Seabed mining (17%)

Southeastern Asia

Basic science & exploration (27%)
Offshore oil & gas (20%)
Seabed mining (20%)

In Western Asia, offshore oil & gas was considered the most important deep-sea issue, followed by basic science & exploration and conservation & protection. In Southern Asia, offshore oil & gas, and fisheries & aquaculture were the most important, followed by conservation & protection. In Eastern Asia, basic science & exploration was the most important, followed by fisheries & aquaculture, and seabed mining. In Southeastern Asia, basic science & exploration was considered most important, with offshore oil & gas and seabed mining.

3.3 Deep-Sea Challenges

What are the top three challenges to deep-sea exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q33)
Respondents were asked to select up to three deep-sea exploration and research challenges that they consider most important for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: funding, access to vessels, access to deep submergence vehicles, access to deep-sea sensors, access to data tools, scalability of technologies, human capacity/knowledge to do deep-sea research, lack of connections with other deep-sea researchers; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a challenge was not an option.

Funding (30%), access to vessels (19%), and human capacity (19%) were the three most important challenges identified in Asia. Funding was the most important challenge in every subregion of Asia (Table 2).

Table 2

Subregion of Asia

Most important deep-sea challenges identified by respondents for Asia

Western Asia

Funding (31%)
Access to vessels (22%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (16%)

Southern Asia

Funding (24%)
Access to vessels (18%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (16%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (16%)

Eastern Asia

Funding (29%)
Access to deep submergence vehicles (24%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (24%)

Southeastern Asia

Funding (34%)
Capacity/knowledge to do deep sea research (23%)
Access to vessels (18%)

In Western Asia, funding was considered the most important challenge to deep-sea exploration and research, followed by access to vessels and human capacity. In Southern Asia, funding was the most important challenge, followed by access to vessels and access to deep submergence vehicles and human capacity. In Eastern Asia, funding was most important, followed by access to deep submergence vehicles and human capacity. In Southeastern Asia, funding was considered the most significant challenge, followed by human capacity and access to vessels.

3.4 Deep-Sea Opportunities

What are you most excited about in the next 5-10 years for deep-sea exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q34)
Respondents were asked to select up to three opportunities in the next 5-10 years that they were most excited about for their GeoArea from a list of the following options: technology that can go deeper, less expensive data collection technologies, better/more precise data collection technologies, scalable platforms & sensors, better data access and analysis tools, training opportunities, and networking/connecting with others; they were also allowed to enter free-text if an opportunity was not an option.

Less expensive data collection technology (17%), training opportunities (16%), and connecting with others (16%) were identified as the most exciting opportunities by respondents for Asia (Table 3).

Table 3

Subregion of Asia

Most exciting opportunities identified by respondents for Asia

Western Asia

Less expensive data collection technology (20%)
Training opportunities (16%)
Connecting with others (16%)

Southern Asia

Training opportunities (19%)
Less expensive data collection technology (17%)
Better data tools (15%)
Connecting with others (15%)

Eastern Asia

Better data tools (21%)
Technology that can go deeper (18%)
More precise data collection technology (18%)

Southeastern Asia

Training opportunities (18%)
Connecting with others (18%)
Less expensive data collection technology (15%)

In Western Asia, respondents were most excited about less expensive data collection technology, followed by training opportunities and connecting with others. In Southern Asia, training opportunities were the highest-ranked opportunity, followed by less expensive data collection technology, better data tools, and connecting with others. In Eastern Asia, better data tools was the top opportunity, followed by deeper technology and more precise data collection technology. In Southeastern Asia, training opportunities and connecting with others were the highest-ranked opportunities, followed by less expensive data collection technology.

4. Status of Deep-Sea Exploration & Research

4.1 Highlights

  • Global Context | Respondents for Asia had the highest agreement that deep-sea exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea, and the third highest agreement that they have in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

  • Regional Comparisons | 

    • Western Asia had low to moderate agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and that they had in-country deep-sea technology. They had moderate to high agreement that they had in-country deep-sea and expertise. 

    • Southern Asia had high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise.

    • Eastern Asia had high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, and that they had in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. 

    • Southeastern Asia had high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, low agreement that they had in-country deep-sea technology, and moderate agreement that they had in-country deep-sea and expertise.

4.2 Importance, Tools, & Expertise

How would you assess the status of deep-sea (>200 m) exploration and research in your GeoArea? (Q4)
Survey respondents were asked to assess the status of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea by stating to what extent they agreed with the following statements on a five-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree:

  1. Deep-sea exploration and research are considered important in my GeoArea.

  2. We have in-country technology to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

  3. We have in-country expertise to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

Overall, 64% of respondents for Asia agreed that exploration and research were considered important in their GeoArea (Figure 8A). Less than half of respondents (48%) agreed they had the in-country technology to conduct deep-sea exploration and research (Figure 8B). However, more than half of respondents (53%) agreed they had the in-country expertise to conduct deep-sea exploration and research (Figure 8C).

Figure 8

Deep-Sea Importance, Technology, & Expertise
(A)
Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that deep-sea exploration and research is considered important in their GeoArea, by subregion of Asia. (B) Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that their GeoArea has in-country deep-sea tools and technology, by subregion. (C) Number of respondents who agreed (green) or disagreed (blue) that their GeoArea has in-country deep-sea expertise, by subregion.


Respondents for Western Asia were largely split in opinion on whether exploration was considered important in their GeoArea and the existence of in-country tools in their GeoArea; they tended toward agreement (46%) on the existence of in-country expertise. For Southern Asia, 62% of respondents agreed that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important. Still, approximately half disagreed that their GeoArea has the technology and expertise necessary for deep-sea exploration and research. Respondents for Eastern Asia overwhelmingly agreed with all statements (83-100%). In Southeastern Asia, 87% reported deep-sea exploration and research as being considered important in their GeoArea. In comparison, only 47% agreed that they had the in-country tools, and approximately half (47%) disagreed that they had the in-country expertise to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

4.3 Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters

Based on the survey results of Question 4 above, we aggregated the responses for which respondents agreed or strongly agreed that (1) deep-sea exploration and research are considered important in their GeoArea, (2) they have in-country deep-sea technology, and (3) they have in-country deep-sea expertise. These data were used to calculate three Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters (SPs) to compare respondents’ perceptions of the relative importance of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea, and the existence of deep-sea technology and expertise in their GeoArea. The SPs were calculated for each subregion of the world.

Figure 9

Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters
(A)
Number of subregions in Asia with each Importance Status Parameter (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). (B) Number of subregions in Asia with each Technology Status Parameter (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). (C) Number of subregions in Asia with each Expertise Status Parameter (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey).


The Importance Status Parameter (Importance SP) assessed the respondent-reported importance of deep-sea exploration and research in their GeoArea (Figure 9A).Asia had the highest average Importance SP, indicating that respondents for Asia thought that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in their GeoArea, more than in other regions. Asia had the largest fraction of subregions in the world with high Importance SPs of 4 or 5 (75%). Western Asia had an Importance SP of 3, the lowest in Asia, indicating moderate agreement by respondents that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in their GeoArea. 

The Technology Status Parameter (Technology SP) assessed the respondent-reported existence of deep-sea tools and technology in their GeoArea (Figure 9B). Asia had the third highest average Technology SP, after Northern America and Europe, indicating that respondents for Asia thought that deep-sea tools and technology existed in their GeoArea. Only one subregion of Asia, Eastern Asia, had a high Technology SPs of 5. The other three subregions had low to moderate Technology SPs of 2 or 3; while low for Asia, these Technology SPs were high in comparison to most other subregions worldwide.

The Expertise Status Parameter (Expertise SP) assessed the respondent-reported existence of deep-sea expertise in their GeoArea (Figure 9C). Asia had the third highest average Expertise SP, after Northern America and Europe, indicating that respondents for Asia thought that in-country expertise required to carry out deep-sea exploration and research existed in their GeoArea. Only one subregion of Asia, Eastern Asia, had a high Expertise SPs of 5. The other three subregions had low to moderate Expertise SPs of 2 or 3; while low for Asia, these Expertise SPs were comparable to most other subregions worldwide.

4.4 Status Parameter Groups

The Deep-Sea Capacity Status Parameters (SPs) are based on respondents’ opinions of their GeoArea and are calculated on a scale of 1 for low agreement to 5 for high agreement with each statement (Data Collection & Analysis). SPs vary by subregion, which are classified into six SP Groups based on the level of agreement with each of the status parameters (Table 4). Using the SP Groups, we can evaluate respondents’ perceptions of the importance of and existence of in-country resources for deep-sea exploration and research at the subregional level.

Table 4

SP Group

Importance

Tech

Expertise

Subregions

A

High

High

High

Eastern Asia, Northern Europe, Western Europe

B

Low

High

High

Northern America, Australia & New Zealand

C

Low

Low

Mid

Western Asia, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Northern Africa, South America

D

High

Low

Mid

Southeastern Asia, Western Africa

E

High

Low

Low

Southern Asia, Eastern Africa, Melanesia, Micronesia

F

Low

Low

Low

Middle Africa, Southern Africa, Polynesia, Central America, Caribbean

Asia’s subregions were split between SP Groups A, C, D, and E demonstrating very high variation in the in-country importance of deep-sea exploration and research and the perceived existence of in-country tools and expertise in this region.

Eastern Asia was in SP Group A, indicating high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas and that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. Other subregions in this group were Northern and Western Europe.

Western Asia was in SP Group C, indicating low agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, low agreement that they had in-country deep-sea technology, and moderate agreement that they had in-country deep-sea and expertise. Other subregions in this group include Northern Africa and South America.

Southeastern Asia was in SP Group D, indicating high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, low agreement that they had in-country deep-sea technology, and moderate agreement that they had in-country deep-sea expertise. Western Africa was also in this group.

Southern Asia was in SP Group E, indicating high agreement that deep-sea exploration and research was considered important in respondents’ GeoAreas, low agreement that they had both in-country deep-sea technology and expertise. Other subregions in this group include Eastern Africa and Melanesia.

5. Deep-Sea Capacity Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction

5.1 Highlights

  • Global Context | Asia had the third highest average presence of, access to, and satisfaction with, marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology compared to other regions worldwide.

  • Regional Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction | Eastern and Southeastern Asia had mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, and respondents had mid to high access to technology and satisfaction with the technology to which they had access. Western and Southern Asia had mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, and respondents had low to mid access to and satisfaction with the technology to which they had access. 

5.2 Presence, Accessibility, & Satisfaction Indices

We assessed organizations, industries, vessels, DSVs, sensors, and data tools using research to identify the presence of capacity in each GeoArea and survey responses to identify accessibility to and satisfaction of vessels, DSVs, sensors, and data tools in each subregion. We used this data to calculate three Deep-Sea Capacity Indices (DSC Indices) to enable comparisons between locations in terms of presence of, access to, and satisfaction with the various types of capacities.

In contrast to the Status Parameters, which are focused on the overall respondent perception of their GeoArea, the DSC Indices represent extensive research on marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology presence, survey respondents’ access to specific types of deep-sea technology, and respondents’ satisfaction with the technology to which they have access. The DSC Indices, therefore, are an initial attempt to assess the relative ability of researchers to conduct deep-sea exploration and research.

Figure 10

Deep-Sea Capacity Indices
(A)
Number of GeoAreas in Asia with each DSC Presence Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of capacity types present in each GeoArea. (B) Number of subregions in Asia with each DSC Accessibility Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCAIs indicate higher access to more types of deep-sea capacities. (C) Number of subregions in Asia with each DSC Satisfaction Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSCSIs indicate more overall satisfaction with the deep-sea capacities to which respondents had access.


The Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of organizations and diversity of marine industries, vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of capacity types present in each GeoArea (Figure 10A). Asia had the third highest average DSCPIs, after Europe and Northern America. GeoAreas in Eastern Asia had the highest DSCPIs and the lowest variation in Asia, indicating that overall, GeoAreas in this subregion consistently had the most types of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology. Western Asia had the lowest average DSCPI rating and the highest variation in Asia. Japan is the only GeoArea in Asia with a DSCPI of 5 (highest), while Timor-Leste, Palestine, and Syria had DSCPIs of 1 (lowest).  

The Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of these deep-sea capacities in each subregion (Figure 10B). Asia had the third highest average DSCAIs, after Europe and Northern America. Eastern Asia had a high DSCAI of 4, the highest in Asia, indicating that respondents for Eastern Asia had high access to the most types of deep-sea technology but less than Northern America and Northern Europe. The DSCAI for Southern, Southeastern, and Western Asia was 3, indicating moderate accessibility to technology in this region and more than most subregions globally.

The Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with vessels, DSVs, sensor systems, and data tools in each subregion, based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with the deep-sea capacities to which respondents had access in each subregion (Figure 10C). Asia had the third highest average DSCSIs, after Northern America and Europe. Eastern Asia had a high DSCSI of 4, indicating that respondents were more satisfied with deep-sea technology than in other Asian subregions and most subregions globally. Western, Southern, and Southeastern Asia had DSCSIs of 2 or 3, which are low to moderate, but comparable to most other subregions worldwide.

5.3 Deep-Sea Capacity Index Groups

Using the Deep-Sea Capacity Indices, we identified four Deep-Sea Capacity Index Groups (DSC Groups) of subregions based on similarities concerning the presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, access to technology, and satisfaction with the technology available (Table 5).

Table 5

DSC Group

Presence

Access

Satisfaction

Subregions

A

Mid-high

High

High

Northern Europe, Northern America

B

Mid

Mid

Mid

Eastern Asia, Southeastern Asia, Western Europe, Southern Europe, Australia & New Zealand

C

Mid

Low-mid

Low-mid

Western Asia, Southern Asia, Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, Southern Africa, South America

D

Low

Low

Low-mid

Western Africa, Middle Africa, Eastern Africa, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, Central America, Caribbean

Asia’s subregions were split between DSC Groups B and C, demonstrating the wide variation in the presence of, access to, and satisfaction with marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology across the region. 

Eastern and Southeastern Asia were in DSC Group B, indicating mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology, access to technology, and satisfaction with them. Other subregions in this group include Western Europe and Australia & New Zealand.

Western and Southern Asia were in DSC Group C, indicating mid to high presence of marine infrastructure and deep-sea technology and low to mid access to and satisfaction with deep-sea technology. Other subregions in this group include Northern Africa and South America. 

6. Organizations & Industries

6.1 Highlights

  • Organizations | We identified 339 deep-sea and marine organizations in Asia: 150 universities and research laboratories, 131 government agencies and ministries, and 58 other organizations. Eastern Asia had the highest normalized number of organizations per GeoArea; Western Asia had the lowest.

  • Industries | The most common types of industries found in Asia were fisheries & aquaculture, and marine transportation, followed by conservation & protection and marine construction. Found only in Japan and the Republic of Korea, active deep-sea mining was the least common industry.

6.2 Organizations

Which universities and/or research labs, government agencies/ministries, and other organizations in your GeoArea study the deep sea or deal with deep-sea issues? (Q7-9, Q7-9R)
We surveyed respondents and conducted manual research to identify deep-sea and marine organizations, including universities and research laboratories, government agencies and ministries, and other organizations. Each research and survey data source had a limit of 5 organizations per type (lab, government, or other) per GeoArea. Overall, 168 deep-sea and marine organizations in Asia were found through manual research alone (50%), 128 were recorded from the survey alone (38%), and 43 were identified by both research and the survey (12%).

We identified 339 deep-sea and marine organizations in Asia; 150 were universities and research laboratories (44% of the total), 131 were government agencies and ministries (39%), and 58 were other organizations (17%) (Figure 11A). The greatest total number of organizations were found in Western Asia and the fewest in Eastern Asia. When normalized by the number of organizations per GeoArea, however, Eastern Asia had the highest average number of organizations per GeoArea; Western Asia had the lowest. 

Figure 11

Organizations
(A)
Number of academic institutions (blue), government agencies (orange), and other organizations (grey) based in each subregion of Asia that do marine and/or deep-sea work. Number of survey and research data sources for each subregion (yellow line). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Asia with each Organizational Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). Higher Org DSCPIs indicate a higher abundance of organizations present in each GeoArea.


The Organizational Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Org DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of research, government, and other marine organizations in each GeoArea; higher values indicate a higher abundance of organizations present in each GeoArea. Org DSCPIs in Asia ranged from very low (1) to very high (5) (Figure 11B), similar to most regions worldwide. Two GeoAreas, India and the United Arab Emirates, had the maximum Org DSCPI of 5, and ten GeoAreas in Asia (33%) had the minimum Org DSCPI of 1. Eastern Asia had the most GeoAreas with high Org DSCPIs of 4 or 5 (75%), while Western Asia had the most GeoAreas with low Org DSCPIs of 1 or 2 (67%).

6.3 Marine Industries

What marine industries exist in each GeoArea? (Q10R)
We researched whether or not ten different marine industries were present in each GeoArea from a list of the following options: fisheries & aquaculture, marine transportation, tourism, conservation & protection, offshore oil & gas, safety & surveillance, marine construction, marine research & development, ocean renewable energy, and deep-sea mining.

The most common industries found in Asia were marine transportation and fisheries & aquaculture (present in 100% of GeoAreas), followed by conservation & protection (present in 93%) and marine construction (87%) (Figure 12A). Deep-sea mining was the least active industry, found only in Japan and the Republic of Korea. However, we found deep-sea mining in prospect or development in eight GeoAreas of Asia.

Figure 12

Marine Industries: Research
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each region of Asia in which each type of marine industry was found: fisheries & aquaculture (Fish Aqua), marine transportation (Trans), tourism (Tour), conservation & protection (Cons Prot), offshore oil & gas (Oil Gas), safety & surveillance (Safety Surv), research & development (R&D), renewable energy (Renew Energy), and deep-sea mining (Deep Mining). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Asia with each Industry Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Industry DSCPIs indicate high diversity of industry types present in each GeoArea.


None of the GeoAreas in Asia had all ten types of industry, but nine GeoAreas had nine types (30%). We found five or fewer types of industries in five GeoAreas (17%) in Eastern and Western Asia, including Georgia, Palestine, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), Syria, and Yemen.

The Industry Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Industry DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of marine industries in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of industry types present in each GeoArea. Industry DSCPIs in Asia ranged from very low (1) to very high (5), similar to Oceania (Figure 12B). Nine GeoAreas (30%) had the maximum Industry DSCPI of 5, and one, Palestine, had the minimum Industry DSCPI of 1. Southern Asia had the most GeoAreas with high Industry DSCPIs of 4 or 5 (100%), while Western Asia had the fewest GeoAreas with high Industry DSCPIs (58%).

What marine industries exist in your GeoArea? (Q10)
Survey respondents were asked to select all the marine industries in their GeoArea from a list of the following options: fisheries & aquaculture, marine transportation, tourism, conservation & protection, offshore oil & gas, safety & surveillance, marine construction, marine research & development, ocean renewable energy, deep-sea mining, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a marine industry in their GeoArea was not an option.

Figure 13

Marine Industries: Survey
Percent of survey respondents for each subregion of Asia who indicated that each marine industry was present in their GeoArea. Industries included: fisheries & aquaculture (Fish Aqua), marine transportation (Trans), tourism (Tour), conservation & protection (Cons Prot), offshore oil & gas (Oil Gas), safety & surveillance (Safety Surv), research & development (R&D), renewable energy (Renew Energy), deep-sea mining (Deep Mining), or Other.

We found the most significant differences in research and survey results for conservation & protection, marine construction, and safety & surveillance; significantly more of these industries were found in research than identified by survey respondents. Conversely, respondents selected deep-sea mining considerably more than the number of active deep-sea mining industries found through research.

Other types of industries listed by respondents included seafloor cabling for energy and communication, tidal energy, and biofuel. One respondent for Indonesia noted that while deep-sea mining does not currently exist in their GeoArea, it is a “big center of interest for the government” and that the “deep sea urgently needs protection here.”

7. Vessels

7.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 80% of respondents for Asia considered ships and vessels important for their work.

  • Presence | Recreational vessels were the most present, followed by fishing and navy vessels. Traditional vessels were the least present type of vessel found in Asia.

  • Access | The most accessible vessels to respondents in Asia were research vessels, followed by fishing vessels. Twenty percent of respondents for Asia reported having no access to vessels.

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Asia were generally neutral to satisfied with vessels in their GeoArea. Overall, respondents were most satisfied with vessel size. Respondents for Eastern Asia were most satisfied with vessels in their GeoArea, while respondents for Southern Asia were least satisfied.

  • Potential Impact | 64% of respondents for Asia reported that increased access to vessels would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work.

7.2 Vessel Importance

How important are ships/vessels for your work? (Q11)
Respondents were asked how important ships and vessels were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 14

Vessels: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Asia who considered vessels very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

The majority of respondents for Asia (80%) considered ships and vessels very important for their work (Figure 14). 

In Western Asia, 89% of respondents considered vessels important to very important, while 69% of respondents for Southern Asia, 67% for Southeastern Asia, and 83% for Eastern Asia agreed. 

7.3 Vessel Presence: Research Results

What types of vessels are present in each GeoArea? (Q12R)
We researched the types of vessels present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had research, fishing, cruise ships, recreational, traditional, or navy vessels. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of vessel, with presence meaning that at least one vessel of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

Recreational vessels were the most common type of vessel found in Asia, present in 29 GeoAreas (97%), followed by fishing and navy vessels, both present in 28 GeoAreas (93%). Traditional vessels were the least common, found in 14 GeoAreas (47%) (Figure 15A). 

Figure 15

Vessels: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Asia in which each type of vessel was found through research: research vessels, fishing vessels, recreational vessels (Rec), traditional vessels (Trad), cruise ships (Cruise), or navy vessels (Navy). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Asia with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of vessel types present in each GeoArea.


Nine GeoAreas, spread across the subregions, had all types of vessels. Three GeoAreas, Palestine, North Korea, and Georgia, had the least diverse range of vessels, with only two and one type present, respectively.

In Western Asia, recreational vessels were found in all GeoAreas. In Southern Asia, all GeoAreas had recreational vessels and research, fishing, and navy vessels. Fishing and navy vessels were the most common in Eastern Asia, found in all GeoAreas. In Southeastern Asia, all GeoAreas had recreational and navy vessels. 

The Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Vessel DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of vessels in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of vessel types present in each GeoArea. Using the Vessel DSCPI, we found that vessels were the technical capacity with the most extensive presence in Asia. GeoAreas in Asia had higher Vessel DSCPIs than the global average (Figure 15B). Nineteen GeoAreas (63%) across all of Asia had the maximum Vessel DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of vessels were present), and six had a Vessel DSCPI of 4 (20%). Only one GeoArea, Georgia, had the minimum Vessel DSCPI of 1, and two, the Philippines and Bangladesh, had a Vessel DSCPI of 2. 

Research also found diving and drilling vessels in Western Asia and a cable-laying vessel in Southeastern Asia.

7.4 Vessel Access: Survey Results

What kinds of vessels do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q12/13)
Respondents were asked to select all types of vessels to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: research vessels, fishing vessels, cruise ships, recreational vessels, traditional vessels, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of vessel to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible vessels in Asia were research vessels (available to 63% of respondents), followed by fishing vessels (available to 31%) (Figure 16A). The least accessible type was traditional vessels. 

Figure 16

Vessels: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Asia with access to each type of vessel: research vessels, fishing vessels, recreational vessels (Rec), traditional vessels (Trad), cruise ships (Cruise), other, or none of the above. (B) Number of subregions of Asia with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to vessels in their GeoArea.


Indeed, respondents had the most access to research vessels in Western, Eastern, and Southeastern Asia, while fishing vessels were the most accessible in Southern Asia. Fifteen respondents for Asia (20%) reported not having access to vessels, mostly in Southern and Southeastern Asia.

The Vessel Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Vessel DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of vessels in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of vessels. In Asia, all subregions had a Vessel DSCAI of 2 (Figure 16B), indicating that access to vessels in Asia was low relative to other types of deep-sea technology but similar to most other regions worldwide. 

Other types of vessels that respondents for Asia noted included navy and Coast Guard vessels, whale watching boats, tugs, and other commercially available vessels that could be modified for research. One respondent from Indonesia noted, “Any kind of vessel can be available, as long as the budget is here.” Several others noted that in some cases, vessels existed but were too expensive to operate and/or maintain and therefore did not get used.

7.5 Vessel Satisfaction

How well do the vessels meet your needs? (Q14)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with vessels in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, size, and duration, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 75 total respondents for Asia, 64-67 answered these questions (85-89% response rate). 

On average, 46% of respondents for Asia were satisfied or very satisfied with vessel operation in their GeoArea (Figure 17A). Overall, 58% of respondents for Asia were most satisfied with vessel size. They were split on all other aspects of vessel operation, with 40-45% satisfied and 33-39% dissatisfied with vessel cost, availability, capabilities, and duration (Figure 17B-F). 

Figure 17

Vessels: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of vessels available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of vessel operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Size (E), and Duration (F).

Figure 18

Vessels: Satisfaction
Number of subregions of Asia with each Vessel Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Vessel DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the vessels to which they have access.

The Vessel Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Vessel DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with vessels based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with vessels to which respondents had access. Vessel DSCSIs in Asia ranged from very low (1) to very high (5), and were higher than the global average due to high ratings in Eastern Asia (Figure 18). While Southern Asia and Western Asia had low Vessel DSCSIs, they were equal to most other subregions worldwide.

Factors that respondents noted had an impact on how well vessels in their GeoArea meet their needs included the availability of bigger ports, cost of operating vessels in the Pacific Ocean, government permission to carry out deep-sea research, safety and age of vessels, the expense of operation, and access to spare parts.

7.6 Potential Impact of Increased Vessel Access

What is the potential impact of increased access to vessels? (Q15)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to vessels would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 19

Vessels: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who said that increased access to vessels would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 64% of respondents for Asia reported that increased access to vessels would have a high impact or would be transformative (Figure 19).

Southern and Eastern Asia respondents were the most optimistic about the potential impact, with 78-83% assessing high/transformative impact. Respondents for Southeastern and Western Asia rated potential impact at 53-57% high/transformative. Notably, 33% of respondents for Southeastern Asia replied that there would be little to no impact on their work with increased access to vessels.

8. Deep Submergence Vehicles

8.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 69% of respondents for Asia considered DSVs important for their work.

  • Presence | ROVs were the most present DSVs in Asia, followed by AUVs and HOVs. Towsleds were the least present type of DSV found in Asia.

  • Access | The most accessible DSVs to respondents in Asia were ROVs, followed by AUVs and drifters. More than one-third of respondents for Asia reported not having access to any DSVs.

  • Depth Rating | Only 48% of DSVs to which respondents had access could operate deeper than 200 mbsl. In Southern Asia, respondents reported not having access to any vehicles that could operate deeper than 200 m. 

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Asia were generally neutral to dissatisfied with DSVs available in their GeoArea. Overall, respondents were most dissatisfied with DSV cost and depth. Respondents for Western Asia and Southern Asia were the least satisfied with the DSVs available.

  • Potential Impact | 72% of respondents for Asia reported that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

8.2 DSV Importance

How important are deep submergence vehicles (DSVs) for your work? (Q17)
Respondents were asked how important DSVs were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 20

DSVs: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Asia who considered DSVs very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

Overall, 69% of respondents for Asia considered DSVs important or very important for their work (Figure 20). 

In Western Asia, 63% of respondents considered DSVs important to very important, as well as 77% of respondents for Southern Asia and 67% of respondents for Southeastern Asia. For Eastern Asia, 83% of respondents considered DSVs important to very important. Eleven respondents (15%) from all of Asia considered DSVs a little or not important for their work.

8.3 DSV Presence: Research Results

What types of DSVs are present in each GeoArea? (Q18R)
We researched the types of DSVs present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), benthic landers, drifters, or towsleds. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of DSV, with presence meaning that at least one vehicle of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

ROVs were the most common DSVs found in Asia, present in 21 GeoAreas (70%), followed by AUVs and HOVs in 16 GeoAreas (53%). Towsleds were the least common, found in only four GeoAreas (13%) (Figure 21A). 

Figure 21

DSVs: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Asia in which each type of DSV was found through research: remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), benthic landers (Lander), drifters, towsleds, and human-occupied vehicles (HOV). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Asia with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of DSV types present in each GeoArea.


Two GeoAreas, China and Japan, had all types of DSVs, while our research found no evidence of DSVs in four GeoAreas: Timor-Leste, Syria, Jordan, and Yemen. At least ten types of foreign-provided DSVs had been used in Asian waters. 

The most common DSVs varied among subregions: ROVs were the most present in Western Asia, while ROVs and AUVs were the most common in Southern Asia. In Eastern Asia, HOVs were present in all four GeoAreas. In Southeastern Asia, benthic landers and ROVs were the most commonly found types of DSVs. 

The DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (DSV DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of DSVs in each GeoArea; higher values indicated higher diversity of DSV types present in each GeoArea. DSVs were the technical capacity with the least extensive presence in Asia, yet GeoAreas in Asia had higher DSV DSCPIs than the global average (Figure 21B). Four GeoAreas (13%) had the maximum DSV DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of DSVs were present), and ten GeoAreas in Asia (33%) had the minimum DSV DSCPI of 1. Eastern Asia had the most types of DSVs, with 75% of its GeoAreas having a DSV DSCPI of 5. Western Asia had the lowest DSV diversity, with seven GeoAreas (58%) having a DSV DSCPI of 1. 

8.4 DSV Access: Survey Results

What kinds of DSVs do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q18)
Respondents were asked to select all types of DSVs to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), human-occupied vehicles (HOVs), benthic landers, drifters, towsled, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of DSV to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible DSVs in Asia were ROVs (available to 49% of respondents), followed by AUVs (available to 28%), and drifters (17%). The least accessible DSVs were HOVs (Figure 22A). 

Figure 22

DSVs: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Asia with access to each type of DSV: remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), benthic landers (Lander), drifters, towsleds, and human-occupied vehicles (HOV), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to DSVs in their GeoArea.


In Western, Eastern, and Southeastern Asia, ROVs were the most accessible DSV type, while benthic landers were the most accessible in Southern Asia. Twenty-nine respondents for Asia (39%) reported having no access to any DSVs. 

The DSV Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (DSV DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of DSVs in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of DSVs. Western and Eastern Asia had DSV DSCAI of 2, while Southern and Southeastern Asia had DSV DSCAIs of 1 (Figure 22B). While these indices indicate low levels of access to DSVs across Asia, they are similar to most subregions worldwide in a global context.

Several respondents also noted access to gliders and moorings.

What is the approximate depth range of DSVs in your GeoArea? (Q19)
Respondents were asked to select the approximate depth range of the DSVs to which they had access from a list of the following options: 0-200 m, 0-1,000 m, 0-2,000 m, 0-4,000 m, >4,000 m, or not applicable.

Forty-five respondents reported the depth capabilities of 108 vehicles, 52% of which could only operate in waters shallower than 200 m (Figure 23). 

Figure 23

DSVs: Depth Rating
Number of deep submergence vehicles to which respondents for Asia reported access, shown by subregion (A) and depth zone (B). Selection counts include all types of DSVs to which respondents reported access: ROVS, AUVs, landers, drifters, towsleds, and HOVs.


In Western Asia, one respondent had access to a towsled that could operate deeper than 4,000 mbsl. In Eastern and Southeastern Asia, respondents had access to vehicles that could operate up to 4,000 mbsl. In Southern Asia, respondents reported having no access to any vehicles that could operate deeper than 200 m. 

8.5 DSV Satisfaction

How well do the DSVs meet your needs? (Q20)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with DSVs in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, depth rating, and duration, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 75 total respondents for Asia, 43-45 answered these questions (57-60% response rate). 

On average, 42% of respondents for Asia were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with DSV operation in their GeoArea (Figure 24A). Respondents for Asia were most dissatisfied with DSV cost and depth (44% dissatisfied) (Figure 24B, E). They were more split in opinion on availability, capabilities, and duration, with 25-36% satisfaction and 38-43% dissatisfaction with those factors (Figure 24C, D, F).

Figure 24

DSVs: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of DSVs available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of DSV operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Depth rating (E), and Duration (F).

Figure 25

DSVs: Satisfaction
Number of subregions of Asia with each DSV Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High DSV DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the DSVs to which they have access.

The DSV Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (DSV DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with DSVs based on several factors, including cost, DSV, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with DSVs to which respondents had access. All subregions of Asia had a DSV DSCSI of 2, indicating low satisfaction with the DSVs available to them in their GeoArea (Figure 25). While DSV satisfaction was low compared to other deep-sea capacities, it was equal to most other subregions, particularly in Africa and Latin America & the Caribbean.

Factors respondents noted that impact how well DSVs in their GeoArea met their needs include the level of vessel support required to operate DSVs and a limited pool of technical personnel to support and maintain DSVs outside of the oil and gas industry.

8.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to DSVs

What is the potential impact of increased access to DSVs in your GeoArea? (Q21)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to DSVs would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 26

DSVs: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who said that increased access to DSVs would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 72% of respondents for Asia reported that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 26). 

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 69% of respondents for Western Asia, 77% for Southern Asia, 75% for Eastern Asia, and 73% for Southeastern Asia reporting that increased access to DSVs would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. Six respondents for Asia (16%) responded that there would be little to no impact on their work with increased access to DSVs.

9. Sensor Systems

9.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 79% of respondents for Asia considered deep-sea sensing systems important for their work.

  • Presence | CTD systems were the most common type of sensors found in Asia, followed by water sampling systems. Genetic sensors for eDNA were the least present type.

  • Access | The most accessible sensor systems in Asia were CTDs, followed by chemical sensors and water sampling systems. Eleven percent of respondents reported not having access to deep-sea sensors. 

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Asia were generally satisfied with sensor systems in their GeoArea. They were most satisfied with accuracy, capabilities, depth rating, and ease of use. Respondents for Eastern Asia were most satisfied with sensor systems, while respondents for Southern Asia were least satisfied.

  • Potential Impact | 73% of respondents for Asia reported that increased access to deep-sea sensor systems would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

9.2 Sensor System Importance

How important are deep-sea sensors for your work? (Q23)
Respondents were asked how important deep-sea sensors were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 27

Sensors: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Asia who considered sensors very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

On average, 79% of respondents for Asia considered deep-sea sensing systems important to very important for their work (Figure 27), the highest of all regions.

The majority of respondents for all subregions considered deep-sea sensors important to very important for their work; 71% of respondents for Western Asia, 92% of respondents for Southern Asia, 83% in Eastern Asia, and 80% in Southeastern Asia. Seven respondents for Asia (9%) considered deep-sea sensors of little importance or not important for their work.

9.3 Sensor System Presence: Research Results

What types of deep-sea sensor systems are present in each GeoArea? (Q24R)
We researched the types of sensor systems present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had CTDs, chemical sensors (e.g. O2, pH, eH), water sampling systems, navigation systems, seafloor mapping systems, or imaging systems. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of sensor system, with presence meaning that at least one sensor system of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

CTDs were the most common sensor systems found in Asia, present in 23 GeoAreas (77%), followed by water sampling systems in 22 GeoAreas (73%). eDNA systems were the least common, found in 14 GeoAreas (47%) (Figure 28A). 

Figure 28

Sensors: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Asia in which each type of sensor system was found through research: CTDs, water sampling systems (Water), chemical sensors (Chem), seafloor mapping systems (Map), imaging systems (Image), navigation systems (Nav), and environmental DNA sensors (eDNA). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Asia with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of sensor types present in each GeoArea.


Five GeoAreas distributed across Asia had all types of sensor systems. Our research uncovered only one type of sensor in three GeoAreas, Syria, Palestine, and North Korea. In Yemen and Timor-Leste, our research revealed no sensors.

The most common type of sensors varied across subregions. In Western Asia and Southeastern Asia, water sampling systems and CTDs were the most commonly found sensor types. CTDs and chemical sensors were found in all six GeoAreas of Southern Asia. In Eastern Asia, all GeoAreas had eDNA sampling capabilities. 

The Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Sensor DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of sensors in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of sensor types present in each GeoArea. While sensor systems had a limited presence in Asia, GeoAreas in Asia had higher Sensor DSCPIs than the global average (Figure 28B). Nine GeoAreas (30%) had the maximum Sensor DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of sensor systems were present), and five GeoAreas (17%) had the minimum Sensor DSCPI of 1. Eastern Asia had the most types of sensors, with 75% of its GeoAreas having a Sensor DSCPI of 5. Southeastern Asia had the lowest sensor diversity with the lowest percentage of GeoAreas with a Sensor DSCPI of 5 (13%) and the highest percent with a Sensor DSCPI of 1 or 2 (38%). 

9.4 Sensor System Access: Survey Results

What kinds of deep-sea sensors do you have access to for deep-sea work? (Q24)
Respondents were asked to select all types of sensor systems to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: CTDs, chemical sensors (e.g., O2, pH, eH), imaging systems, water sampling, navigation, seafloor mapping, or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of sensor system to which they had access was not an option.

The most accessible sensor systems in Asia were CTDs (available to 71% of respondents), followed by chemical sensors and water sampling systems (64% each) (Figure 29A). 

Figure 29

Sensors: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Asia with access to each type of sensor system: CTDs, water sampling systems (Water), chemical sensors (Chem), seafloor mapping systems (Map), imaging systems (Image), navigation systems (Nav), and environmental DNA sensors (eDNA), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions in Asia with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to sensor systems in their GeoArea.


Respondents for Western, Eastern, and Southeastern Asia had the most access to CTDs. Respondents for Southern Asia had equally high access to CTDs, chemical sensors, and water sampling systems. Eight respondents for Asia (11%) reported having no access to deep-sea sensors. 

The Sensor Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Sensor DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of sensors in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of sensors. Western and Eastern Asia had Sensor DSCAIs of 4, while Southern and Southeastern Asia had Sensor DSCAIs of 3 (Figure 29B). These indices indicate moderate (3) to high (4) levels of access to sensor systems within Asia and globally.

Additional sensors the respondents noted included sub-bottom profilers, seismic systems, biologging tools, magnetometers, and sediment traps. One respondent also noted that the equipment available to them was outdated and not maintained.

9.5 Sensor System Satisfaction

How well do deep-sea sensors meet your needs? (Q25)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with deep-sea sensor systems in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, depth rating, ease of use, and accuracy, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 75 total respondents for Asia, 56-62 answered these questions (75-83% response rate). 

On average, 50% of respondents for Asia were satisfied or very satisfied with sensor operation in their GeoArea (Figure 30A). Overall, 50-62% of respondents for Asia were satisfied or very satisfied with sensor system accuracy, capabilities, depth rating, and ease of use (Figure 30D-G). They split in opinion on cost and availability, with 40-43% satisfied and 32-40% dissatisfied (Figure 30B-C). 

Figure 30

Sensors: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of sensors available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of sensor operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Depth rating (E), Ease of Use (F), and Accuracy (G).

Figure 31

Sensors: Satisfaction
Number of subregions in Asia with each Sensor Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Sensor DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the sensor systems to which they have access.

The Sensor Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Sensor DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with sensors based on several factors, including cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with sensors to which respondents had access. Satisfaction with sensor systems in Asia was mixed (Figure 31). Eastern and Southeastern Asia had the highest satisfaction with Sensor DSCSI of 4-5, comparable to Europe and Northern America. Western and Southern Asia had moderate to low satisfaction (Sensor DSCSIs of 2 or 3), similar to Africa and parts of Oceania and Latin America & the Caribbean.

Respondents noted factors that impacted how well deep-sea sensors in their GeoArea met their needs, including access to calibration, biofouling, reliance on out-of-country hardware and servicing, and customs taxes on imports.

9.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to Sensors

What is the potential impact of increased access to deep-sea sensors? (Q26)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to deep-sea sensors would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 32

Sensors: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who said that increased access to sensor systems would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 73% of respondents for Asia reported that increased access to deep-sea sensor systems would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 32). 

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 63% of respondents for Western Asia, 100% for Southern Asia, 58% for Eastern Asia, and 87% for Southeastern Asia reporting that increased access would result in a high or transformative impact. Seven respondents for Asia (9%) reported that there would be little to no impact on their work with increased access to deep-sea sensor systems.

10. Data Tools

10.1 Highlights

  • Importance | 92% of respondents for Asia reported data tools were important to very important for their work.

  • Presence | ML/AI was the most present data tool, followed by geographic information systems (GIS). Genomic sequencing tools were the least present.

  • Access | The most accessible data tool in Asia was GIS, followed by data management tools and data storage capacity. Nineteen percent of respondents for Asia reported not having access to any of the listed data tools. 

  • Satisfaction | Respondents for Asia were generally neutral to satisfied with data tools in their GeoArea. Approximately half of the respondents for Asia were satisfied or very satisfied with all aspects of data tools.

  • Potential Impact | 73% of respondents for Asia reported that increased access to data tools would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work. 

10.2 Data Tools Importance

How important are data analysis & access tools for your work? (Q28)
Respondents were asked how important data tools were for their work on a five-point scale from not important to very important.

Figure 33

Data Tools: Importance
Number of survey respondents for each subregion of Asia who considered data tools very important or important (green) to little or not important (blue) for their work.

On average, 92% of respondents for Asia reported data tools were important to very important for their work (Figure 33), the highest of all regions.

The majority of respondents for all subregions considered data tools important to very important for their work; 86% of respondents for Western Asia, 92% for Eastern Asia, and 100% of respondents for Southern and Southeastern Asia. Two respondents for Asia (3%) considered data tools a little or not important for their work.

10.3 Data Tools Presence: Research Results

What type of data analysis & access tools are present in each GeoArea? (Q29R)
We researched the types of data tools present in each GeoArea, specifically if the GeoArea had geographic information systems (GIS), data management tools, data storage capacity, data visualization tools, machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), cloud computing, and/or genomic sequencing tools. We recorded the presence or absence of each type of data tool, with presence meaning that at least one data tool of a given type was present in the GeoArea.

ML/AI was the most common data tool found in Asia, present in all 30 GeoAreas (100%), followed by GIS in 29 GeoAreas (97%). Sequencing tools were the least present, found in 21 GeoAreas (70%) (Figure 34A). 

Figure 34

Data Tools: Presence
(A)
Percent of GeoAreas in each subregion of Asia in which each type of data tool was found through research: GIS, data management tools (Mgt), data storage tools (Storage), data visualization tools (Viz), cloud computing (Cloud), genomic sequencing (Genome), and machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI). (B) Number of GeoAreas in Asia with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCPIs indicate higher diversity of data tool types present in each GeoArea.


 Sixteen GeoAreas (53%) had all types of data tools. Three GeoAreas (10%) had limited types of sensors, including North Korea with two types of sensors and Yemen and Syria with three types of sensors each. 

ML/AI was found in all GeoAreas in all subregions of Asia. In addition, GIS was present in all GeoAreas of Western Asia, GIS and cloud computing were present in all GeoAreas of Southern Asia, cloud computing was present in all GeoAreas of Eastern Asia, and GIS and data visualization were present in all GeoAreas of Southeastern Asia.

The Data Deep-Sea Capacity Presence Index (Data DSCPI) assessed the research-based presence of types of data tools in each GeoArea; higher values indicate higher diversity of data tool types present in each GeoArea. Data tools were the technical capacity with the second highest diversity in Asia after vessels, and GeoAreas in Asia had higher Data DSCPIs compared to the global average (Figure 34B). Twenty-one GeoAreas (70%) had the maximum Data DSCPI of 5 (i.e., many types of data tools were present), and no GeoAreas in Asia had the minimum Data DSCPI of 1. While Southern Asia had the most types of data tools, with 83% of its GeoAreas having a Data DSCPI of 5, the presence of a variety of data tool types was high across all subregions of Asia.

10.4 Data Tools Access: Survey Results

What kinds of data analysis & access tools do you have access to? (Q29)
Respondents were asked to select all types of data tools to which they had access for deep-sea work from a list of the following options: cloud computing, data management tools, data storage capacity, data visualization tools, genomic sequencing, geographic information systems (GIS), machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), or none of the above; they were also allowed to enter free-text if a type of data tool to which they had access was not an option.

The accessible data tools in Asia were GIS (available to 79% of respondents), followed by data management tools (64%), and data storage capacity (57%) (Figure 35A). 

Figure 35

Data Tools: Access
(A)
Percent of respondents for each subregion of Asia with access to each type of data tool: GIS, data management tools (Mgt), data storage tools (Storage), data visualization tools (Viz), cloud computing (Cloud), genomic sequencing (Genome), machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI), other, and none of the above. (B) Number of subregions in Asia with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCAIs indicate higher respondent-reported access to data tools in their GeoArea.


GIS was the most accessible data tool in Western, Southern, and Southeastern Asia, while data management tools were most accessible in Eastern Asia. Fourteen respondents for Asia (19%) reported having no access to any of the listed data tools or did not know what data tools were available to them. 

The Data Deep Sea Capacity Accessibility Index (Data DSCAI) assessed the respondent-reported access to different types of data tools in each subregion; higher values indicate higher access to more types of data tools. Eastern and Southeastern Asia had Data DSCAIs of 4, while Western and Southern Asia had Data DSCAIs of 3 (Figure 35B). These indices indicate moderate (3) to high (4) levels of access to data tools within Asia and in a global context.

Respondents noted some barriers to access to data tools, including irregular access to electricity and a lack of bandwidth for uploading data to the cloud. 

10.5 Data Tools Satisfaction

How well do data analysis & access tools meet your needs? (Q30)
Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with data tools in their GeoArea in terms of cost, availability, capabilities, ease of use, and bandwidth, each on a five-point scale from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Out of 75 respondents for Asia, 64-66 answered these questions (85-88% response rate). 

Overall, 51% of respondents for Asia were satisfied or very satisfied with all aspects of data tools (Figure 36). 

Figure 36

Data Tools: Satisfaction
Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who are satisfied (green) or dissatisfied (blue) with all aspects of data tools available to them in their GeoArea (A). Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who are satisfied (green) to dissatisfied (blue) with each of the aspects of data tool operation: Cost (B), Availability (C), Capabilities (D), Ease of Use (E), and Bandwidth (F).

Figure 37

Data Tools: Satisfaction
Number of subregions in Asia with each Data Deep-Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (oranges), compared to all other regions (grey). High Data DSCSIs indicate high respondent-reported satisfaction with the data tools to which they have access.

The Data Deep Sea Capacity Satisfaction Index (Data DSCSI) assessed the respondent-reported satisfaction with data tools based on several factors, Data cost, availability, and capabilities in each subregion; higher values indicate more overall satisfaction with data tools to which respondents had access. Western and Eastern Asia had a Data DSCSI of 3, while Southern and Southeastern Asia had Data DSCSIs of 2 (Figure 37). These indices indicate moderate (3) to low (2) levels of satisfaction with data tools within Asia. Globally, satisfaction with data tools was relatively low compared to other deep-sea capacities, and Asia is no exception. 

Respondents noted the need for increased data archiving and management at a regional level, increased volumes of deep-sea studies, and long-term funding to support such infrastructure development and maintenance.

10.6 Potential Impact of Increased Access to Data Tools

What is the potential impact of increased access to data analysis & access tools in your GeoArea? (Q31)
Respondents were asked what impact increased access to data tools would have on their work on a five-point scale from no impact to transformative.

Figure 38

Data Tools: Potential Impact
Number of respondents for each subregion of Asia who said that increased access to data tools would have a high or transformative impact (green) or little to no impact (blue) on their work.

Overall, 73% of respondents for Asia reported that increased access to data tools would have a high impact or would be transformative for their work (Figure 38).

Responses were consistently high across all subregions, with 69% of respondents for Western Asia, 92% for Southern Asia, 67% for Eastern Asia, and 73% for Southeastern Asia reporting that increased access would result in a high or transformative impact. Four respondents for Asia (5%) reported that there would be little to no impact on their work with increased access to data tools.

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