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Canada’s most advanced interactive Seafloor Observatory launches in British Columbia

Global Marine and The University of Victoria begin pioneering research project for the world of marine science and oceanography

Port of Victoria, British Columbia: Global Marine Systems Limited, the market leader in marine cable installation and maintenance for the telecommunications industry, in partnership with The University of Victoria, is pleased to announce the launch of the VENUS (Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea) project. The launch event takes place today, Wednesday 16th November aboard Cable Ship Wave Venture, captained by Commander David Jeffrey.

VENUS will pioneer the use of fibre-optic cabling technology to provide a real-time data feed of images, sound and scientific measurements from the sea floor which, from January 2006, can be viewed live over the internet. The project is based in the waters around Southern Vancouver Island, starting with the Saanich Inlet and will then move onto the Strait of Georgia.

Previously, marine scientists have broadly used two main methods for collecting data from the ocean floor – either periodically recovering measurements from fixed and floating data collection buoys or developing and building their own instruments, which are then positioned on the seafloor and recovered for later analysis.

Instead, VENUS will provide a breadth of real time data that will cover areas including ocean physics, sediment studies, the biological distribution and interaction between marine life, bioacoustics, fish migratory patterns and plankton distributions. The scientific node, which enables the seafloor observatory to process this diverse range of data, was provided by the Canadian firm OceanWorks, who specialise in manned and unmanned subsea work systems.

"The VENUS project represents a step change for the world of marine science and oceanography, which will help improve the way marine scientists observe oceans in the future,” said Dr Phil Hart, Director of Engineering at Global Marine. “Current data collection methods provide a snapshot view only, whereas the VENUS observatory can be considered as being like a continuous film, which will allow more reliable long term observations to be made. Global Marine is delighted to be working with The University of Victoria on the VENUS project and is keen to be an active player in the broader underwater observatory market," he added.

"The installation of the VENUS observatory is a scientific milestone for UVic, for Canada and indeed for the world," said UVic President Dr. David Turpin. "VENUS builds on UVic's recognized strengths in ocean sciences and we're very proud of the hard work, strong partnerships, and innovative thinking that have brought us to this exciting threshold."

Dr Verena Tunnicliffe, VENUS Project Director at The University of Victoria, said, “It’s an exciting moment for us, and the event marks the realisation of a project that originated roughly five years ago. VENUS will not only enable marine scientists to interact with the ocean through their instruments in real time but, by broadcasting our results live over the internet, will make the world of oceanography accessible to a far wider audience.”

The VENUS project broadcast starts in early January 2006 and can be viewed live at

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Media Enquiries:

Peter Fitzpatrick/Kathryn Hughes

hbl media
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7612 1830
Email: /

Valerie Shore
Research Communications Officer and Editor, The Ring
UVic Communications
Sedgewick C149
University of Victoria, B.C. V8W 2Y2
Tel: +1 (250) 721-7641

Deborah Bartlett
Global Marine Systems Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 1245 702105

Additional information for Editors:

Global Marine (a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgehouse Marine) has been in business for well over a century and a half and continues to be the pre-eminent provider of submarine cable installation and maintenance services in the world. Operating with the world's most advanced fleet of cable ships and subsea vehicles, it is a market leader in marine cable installation and maintenance for telecommunications, as well as scientific research, oil, gas, utilities and the renewable energy sector.

Its developments in state of the art geographical information systems and computer mapping technology play a vital part in the drive for greater system security.

Global Marine has installed more undersea fibre optic cables than any other operator. More than 50% of the world’s buried fibre-optic cables have been installed by Global Marine and between 30% and 40% of all subsea cables repairs and maintenance are undertaken by the company.

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