Secure Our Oceans

Secure Our Oceans is a platform that helps countries, multilateral organizations, and NGOs around the world find the right technology to protect their marine protected areas. It organizes technologies in a simple manner to help decision makers make more informed decisions about the tools they need to safeguard their marine protected areas.

MANU SAN FELIX/Courtesy of National Geographic Society

Our Mission

The world’s oceans represent life. Our oceans are a sight of breathtaking beauty and a source of food and livelihood for over a billion people. But our oceans are also some of the world’s largest crime scenes – in part due to rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Today, because of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices, 90 percent of fisheries globally are overfished or fully exploited. The annual illegal fishing industry is worth $10 to $23 billion per year and it is estimated that one out of every five fish caught is caught illegally. This illegal fishing is connected to other transnational criminal activity like the trafficking of arms, drugs and humans.

Illegal fishing is a serious global threat, and the world is starting to realize it. In 2010, governments around the world agreed to protect 10 percent of the world’s oceans in ten years. To do so, countries have started creating marine protected areas, which are natural parks in the oceans. In the last few years 5,000 such protected areas were established. Some are huge, like the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve in the United Kingdom, which measures three-and-a-half times the size of the Kingdom itself. Others are much smaller, but they all have one thing in common: they need enforcement.

Global efforts to enforce marine protected areas have resulted in an unprecedented outpouring of innovation for ocean security. Technology is part of the answer for enforcing marine protected areas. This includes using new technology such as drones, or more well-established technology like satellite imagery, in novel ways to protect oceans. There is no shortage of technological solutions to this problem. But finding the right technology and integrating multiple systems is hard.

Secure Our Oceans connects those in need of technology with a smorgasbord of organized technology opportunities and experts to design sustainable solutions to one of the world’s greatest challenges: securing our oceans.

MANU SAN FELIX/Courtesy of National Geographic Society

Next Steps: Mission "Oceans Avengers"

Simply providing information on technology will not solve the problem of insecure oceans. Secure Our Oceans is also creating Marine Enforcement Pods, or “Oceans Avengers,” to build enforcement projects from the bottom up. Ocean Avengers teams are composed of conservation technologists, oceans scientists, illegal fishing experts and those who live and breathe maritime domain awareness. They will produce technology feasibility studies and implementation plans that sustainably enforce marine protected areas.

The feasibility studies will provide unbiased assessments on the needs and capabilities for enforcement of a given marine protected area. These studies can be used to mobilize support, partnerships and financing for implementing suggested solutions. Secure Our Oceans will work closely with feasibility study partners to design follow-up pilot projects where possible.

Secure Our Oceans is putting out a Call to Action for those who wish to participate in this endeavor. We are eager to hear from those in need of assistance to secure marine protected areas, as well as from those who wish to contribute technology or experts to pilot projects. Join us in these efforts by filling out the Call to Action form at the bottom of the page.

MANU SAN FELIX/Courtesy of National Geographic Society

Behind the Scenes: Methodology

Secure Our Oceans is the result of tireless research by a team of national security, oceans and conservation technology experts to compile the information available today. Information was gathered through online research as well as through interviews with technology providers, users and experts.

The website includes technology which fulfilled at least one of the following parameters:

  • Technology that has been used in a conservation setting;
  • Technology that has been used for maritime domain awareness or marine control and surveillance; or
  • Technology that was deemed to have a strong potential to translate into a maritime conservation environment.

Know of a technology that fits these parameters but not yet on the site? Get in touch! Let us know in the Call to Action form at the bottom of the page and help us grow Secure Our Oceans to represent the full breadth of technology available for marine enforcement.

Descriptions of technology are based on information supplied by technology providers and independent websites that have not been independently verified by the research team. These descriptions do not represent an independent analysis on any given technology’s capabilities. All information should be verified with technology providers.

We are open to feedback, information and engagement to improve our efforts. Please get in touch with us via the Call to Action form at the bottom of this page.


The Pristine Seas project at National Geographic partnered with the Stimson Center on this initiative and provided seed funding to Secure Our Oceans.


Call to Action

Join us and our team to build real world solutions to protect MPAs. If you have a technology ready to be deployed, or an MPA in need of safeguarding, click the box below and send us a message. Have a question or technology to add to the site? Drop us a line.

Yes, I want to participate in a real world solution. Please contact me with more details!
MANU SAN FELIX/Courtesy of National Geographic Society

© Secure Oceans 2016