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Why MRV is critical to the protection of marine wildlife

Every year on March the 3rd, we celebrate World Wildlife Day, which serves  to remind and educate us on the importance of the fauna and flora we rely on everyday, both directly or otherwise.  As the world slowly wakes up to the importance of not just mitigating climate change but also actively monitoring and protecting biodiversity, the importance of data becomes more apparent. Whether its research, restoration, monitoring, policy, campaigning or any other number of paths to conservation, this can’t be done without data collection to inform thinking and subsequent decisions.

In this regard, the marine environment lags far behind other biospheres - partially due to the cost and complexity of collecting data at sea. With targets and obligations under the UNs 30x30 and the High Seas Treaty there is a pressing need to gather high resolution data at scale that can be used for decision making purposes.

ACUA Ocean's H-USV delivers a platform for the collection of data to facilitate scalable Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV). This uncrewed surface vessel offers surface and subsurface payload capabilities for the deployment of sensors and monitoring devices, enabling comprehensive, real-time data gathering. The H-USV's capacity for holistic monitoring allows for a deep understanding of the complex dynamics within marine ecosystems. The collected data becomes a valuable resource for MRV, supporting evidence-based decision-making in conservation initiatives.

Our platform extends its capabilities to the monitoring of marine wildlife, including cetaceans at the sea surface. By incorporating technologies such as Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM), the platform can detect and analyse underwater sounds, providing insights into the presence and behaviour of marine mammals. Additionally, onboard cameras contribute to the observation of seabird diversity, offering a comprehensive view of the marine environment.

We can also play a pivotal role in safeguarding Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) via technological presence. The H-USV, equipped with camera technology and real-time communication capabilities, actively monitors both coastal and offshore MPAs. This technology aids in identifying potential threats and alerting relevant organisations. The platform's persistence and ability to remain operational in higher sea states will enable users to cover large areas, enhancing the efficiency of MPA protection efforts.

The integration of camera technology, sensors and real-time communication ensures that monitoring efforts are focused on specific areas of interest. This targeted approach enhances the effectiveness of large-scale tasks associated with MPA protection and conservation initiatives.

The use of innovative tools positions ACUA Ocean as a valuable partner in addressing the challenges faced by the marine world.

 Copy and Photos: Sol Milne and Liberty Denman


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