2008.07.10 Speech of Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow, at the opening ceremony of the special exhibition "The Deep"
Mr. Thébault, Mr. Yiu, Ms. Nouvian, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, let me welcome you all to the opening of “The Deep,” the new special exhibition of the Hong Kong Science Museum.
In 1848, British naturalist Edward Forbes claimed that beyond 600 metres, the deep sea was lifeless. Explorers and scientists have spent the last 160 years proving him wrong. Even though deep-sea oceanography is still young, we now know that the depths are far from a lifeless void. On the contrary, life seems to have colonized even the most hostile of environments at depths of 4,000 metres.
However, the exploitation of ocean resources such as deep-sea trawling is rapidly destroying the environment. The population of many marine species has declined by 90% in the past 50 years and some are on the verge of extinction. To recognize, understand and learn how to conserve the oceans has become one of the pressing tasks in the world today. An effective way to promote public awareness of the issues concerned is to let them realize that the oceans are also home to a great diversity of life that we should respect.
The Deep invites you to discover this true “final frontier” of our planet. Over 100 specimens and photos, many of which showing animals captured on film for the first time, will create a sense of immersion in the strange, fragile world of the Earth’s deep oceans. Combining the latest scientific research with amazing imagery, the exhibition allows you to peer into an abyss teeming with life that, while only a few thousand metres away, seems to be from an entirely different universe. We hope that, after touring the exhibition, you will gain an appreciation not only of the stark beauty of the deep ocean, but also of the importance of preserving it for our future generations.
On behalf of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, I would like to thank a number of partners whose involvement has made this exhibition possible. Let me thank the sole sponsor of the exhibition, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, for its generous financial support; the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau for presenting the exhibition jointly with us; Ms. Nouvian, whose passion for the ocean has inspired The Deep; and, last but not least, the Paris Natural History Museum which oversaw the creation of this wonderful exhibition.
I sincerely invite all in Hong Kong to visit the exhibition, explore the mysterious world of the oceans and go home with the firm mission to help preserve the Deep. Thank you.