Marine Protected Areas

Healthy ocean ecosystems are vital for human wellbeing

Over eighty percent of all life on Earth dwells in our ocean, producing over half of the planet’s oxygen.  Three billion people derive their protein from seafood. One in eight people depend on the sea to earn their livelihood. The ocean is crucial to the global carbon cycle, shuttling gigatons of carbon each year between the atmosphere and plankton. The ocean regulates our weather and our climate.  We need the ocean to survive.

Yet the ocean is under dire threat from human activity and the relentless effects of climate change. UNESCO estimates that 60% of the world’s major marine ecosystems have been degraded or used unsustainably. Thousands of ocean species are threatened with extinction.

Scientists agree that to nurse the ocean back to health we must establish marine protected areas covering 30% of the ocean, where ecosystems can recover and thrive free from damaging human activities. Healthy ecosystems conserve biodiversity, provide refuge for threatened species, protect critical habitats, and build resilience against other damaging factors, including climate change.  To date, less than 10% of the ocean is highly protected.

Advancements in Enforcement of Marine Protected Areas

  • Enforcement of remote MPAs has never been easier 
  • Remote surveillance of fishing activities in and around areas 
  • Detection of “dark vessels” using satellite imagery and radar 
  • Actionable intelligence, threat modelling, risk assessment, intelligence-led risk-based enforcement, low cost 
  • Interventions: International engagement, contact flag state, port inspections, patrol support, etc 

One reason cited for the slow growth of marine protected areas is difficulty enforcing a designated area, however this is no longer the case.  Remote sensing, satellite observations, autonomous vehicles, vessel tracking and a whole host of other technology now makes the invisible, visible, and the unknown, known.  OceanMind is expert in cost effectively monitoring vessel activities in marine protected areas, identifying unauthorised fishing, and taking action through international instruments such as flag state controls or port state measures.

Vessel tracking with OceanMind’s artificial intelligence analysis allows rapid identification of fishing activities in marine protected areas.  Remote sensing and satellite observations allows for the detection of “dark vessels”.  In-depth analysis by OceanMind’s expert fisheries analysts produces actionable intelligence and threat modelling to inform risk assessment and intelligence-led risk-based enforcement.  Where patrol vessels are available, OceanMind’s analyst team support patrol planning to direct vessels to the highest threats.

Once non-compliance has been identified, action can be taken to increase compliance and deterrence.  Where vessel identity is known, an authority can hold the flag state of the vessel responsible for its activities.  OceanMind can facilitate authority to flag state interactions.  Whether vessel identity is known or not, an authority can request an inspection of the vessel from a port state, particularly where port state measures has been implemented.  OceanMind can facilitate authority to port state interactions and requests for inspection under the port state measures agreement.

Technology has enabled effective marine protected area enforcement for areas of any size, anywhere in the world.  OceanMind is a world leader in marine protected area monitoring and can support you through the design, development, and implementation of your marine protected area enforcement planning.  Click the link below to find out how.

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