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.