7SEAS – one man

Posted on July 16, 2019

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Sergiy Tovkus has had many guises in his life, but the ocean is something he’s always been drawn to since childhood. The Ukrainian freediver packs a statuesque figure, lean and muscular he looks every bit the dive professional. But his love of water goes beyond duck dives and breath holds.

He’s a passionate advocate of protecting marine biodiversity with a special focus on Manta Rays. Passionate enough to create a jewellery line – 7SEASjewelry.com – which supports Manta Ray conservation and research through sales revenue.

When we met last December on Koh Tao, in Thailand, I had no idea he’d launched this innovative line. So it came as a surprise when he showed me his beautiful handy work nearly eight months on.

Ten per cent of revenue made from the sales of bracelets, necklaces, pendants and beads goes towards the charity, Manta Trust. Every charm sold is either a species found in the underwater world: squid, octopus, nudibranchs, sharks and turtles to name a few; or has a link to the aquatic world.

The oceanic Manta Ray is the company’s signature charm which has been uniquely designed by 7SEASjewelry. It was while he was working in the Maldives that he fell in love with Mantas.

“I would finish a shift and then take a boat to be able to freedive with them in Hanifaru Bay.”

Sergiy painstakingly sought advice from a marine biologist to ensure that the design was true to the fish’s anatomical structure.

“So many designs are wrong. I found it annoying because they just don’t look like flat rays. I wanted to create something that was a true picture.”

There are two charms available. One adorned with crystals and one without. The tail length was altered a number of times to be as close to accurate as possible. And it has both the cephalic fins (feeding appendages) as well as spots in a T-shape on its dorsal. Something only found in oceanic Manta Rays.

“Mantas are highly intelligent fish. They have the largest brain to body ratio of all marine fish,” says marine biologist Tam Sawers from Manta Trust.

They are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Countries like Mozambique, Sri Lanka and Indonesia still fish them for food.

Tam told me, “We are working with communities through education projects, governmental agencies to ensure Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are actually functioning and are not just set up by name only. Citizen Science where we invite online contributors to write about their experience.” She says their next step is getting local fishermen on board.

Sergiy believes everyone has the ability to connect with the water especially after being on holiday. “This is a nice reminder of people’s memories of being in tropical water. I am hoping it will entice curiosity in the lay public to help species under threat.”

7SEASjewelry.com makes leather and silver brackets for both men and women. Orders can be made online and shipping is free.

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