Fisheries managers have a problem. If they don’t know what ocean habitat looks like, they can’t tell if industrial activities like fishing, mining, or energy installations are having, or could have, an adverse impact. But how can we possibly know what it’s like down there?

Thanks to an innovative towed vehicle called the HabCam, fisheries managers, biologists, and fishermen, now have unprecedented access to the sea floor. By creating stunningly detailed, high-resolution 3D mosaics of the sea floor, this “habitat camera mapping system” is helping protect sensitive habitats, gather important biological data, and allows fishermen to more effectively target their catch.

In this video for Oceanus magazine, we talk with WHOI biologist Scott Gallager, the HabCam’s lead developer, and take a deep dive into some incredible imagery of the ocean floor.