30 Innovative Organisations Solving the 10 Biggest Ocean Problems
Seaspiracy shocked its viewers by outlining a huge range of ocean issues. Unsurprisingly, the documentary has ignited conversations around the world about the worrying states of our oceans. But, what it didn’t do was show the wide variety of solutions that are currently in development. For many of the problems described in Seaspiracy, there are companies, NGOs, academics or community leaders working on a solution. Avoiding eating fish, as suggested by Seapsiricy, is not a catch-all solution. In fact, for 3 billion people (WWF, 2021), it’s not a viable solution at all. So how can we realistically help the oceans?
We can help the oceans by developing ways to reduce the environmental impact of fishing. Through our own mission, SNTech knows there are many driven people out there who need help in their work to support a healthy ocean. Here are some innovative organisations addressing some of the issues mentioned in Seaspiracy.
Currently, plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments (IUCN). Here are some of the groups working to ensure that plastic can be tracked, found, and cleared from the oceans. Or even better, never finds its way there in the first place.
The Great Bubble Barrier builds bubble barriers that stop plastic from flowing through rivers but allows fish and ships to pass. https://thegreatbubblebarrier.com/
The Global Ghost Gear Initiative is a cross stakeholder alliance of the fishing industry, private sector, corporates, NGO’s, and governments. They are driving and supporting solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear. https://www.ghostgear.org/
Blue Ocean Gear creates Smart Buoy technology that always tracks fishing gear to reduce the chance of loss. https://blueoceangear.com/
NetTag produces a retrofittable acoustic fishing gear tag that makes it easier to find and identify lost gear. https://nettag.ciimar.up.pt/?lang=en
Overfishing and Bycatch
Overfishing is one of the primary drivers causing a decline in ocean wildlife populations. It is closely tied to bycatch. Catching non-target endangered, juvenile, or unmarketable species during fishing negatively impacts biodiversity and leads to unsustainable fisheries. It is estimated that 1 in every 10 fish caught is bycatch. However, the growing sector of Precision Fishing is tackling these issues head-on. These companies are creating tech to support better fishery management and more selective fishing.
SMARTFISH H2020: Better fishing management and regulation requires accurate fishing data. SMARTFISH H2020 is an industry-science collaborative research partnership focused on developing, testing and scaling smart fishing technologies to collect fishing data. https://smartfishh2020.eu/
SafetyNet Technologies builds Precision Fishing technologies to reduce bycatch, increase traceability, and make ocean data available to all. https://sntech.co.uk/
FishTek Marine creates a range of technological approaches to reduce bycatch, in pelagic longline, gillnet, seine and trap fisheries. https://www.fishtekmarine.com/
SmartCatch makes smart cameras that enable fishing crews to see what they’ve caught before they bring it aboard allowing them to avoid and release bycatch. https://www.entitymag.com/smartcatch-ameliorates-commercial-fishing-practices/
EcoCast is a real-time data tool to help fishers and managers allocate fishing effort to minimise bycatch of protected species.https://coastwatch.pfeg.noaa.gov/ecocast
Seafood Traceability and Fair Market
Where does our seafood come from? How do we know what species it actually is? Who actually makes money from it? These companies are building and deploying tools to ensure supply chain traceability, and make sure that those risking their health are the ones that get fairly compensated.
RemoraXYZ provides technology that continuously assesses the supply chain in small-scale fisheries to connect them with high-end markets and ensure sustainability. https://www.remoraxyz.com/
ShellCatch supports supply chain traceability in small-scale fishers. They make sure better prices are going directly to the fishing crews that are working sustainably. https://shellcatch.com/welcome/
Vericatch is a fisheries management software that makes fishing data easier to log and share. https://vericatch.com/
Teem.Fish creates remote electronic monitoring systems to help enable compliant and trusted fisheries. https://teem.fish/
Arcipelago is accelerating the implementation of electronic monitoring systems for a more transparent commercial fishing sector. https://www.archipelago.ca/
SnapIT produces fisheries compliance monitoring hardware and software. Their work to add transparency for consumers and efficiency for fishing crews.
Pelagic Data Systems create affordable hardware and software for small-scale fishing vessels. https://www.pelagicdata.com/
Pesky is a company allowing direct sales from fishing crews to buyers. They are returning fairer value to the people who go to sea and incentivising domestic consumption. https://peskyfish.co.uk/
Welfare at Sea and Illegal Fishing
It’s hard to know what goes on in the ocean, and who’s fishing legally. Often, those conducting Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing activities are also the ones committing crimes against humanity. These companies have deployed ways to find out who’s fishing where, whether it was legal, and then build cases against bad actors.
OceanMind is empowering fisheries compliance using AI, satellite data and advanced analytics. https://oceanmind.global/
Global Fishing Watch ensures sustainability through transparency. They visualise, track and share data about global fishing activity for free. https://globalfishingwatch.org/
The seabed and coral reefs have been under attack from human marine activities and climate change. As a result, they desperately need to be rebuilt in resilient ways. These companies have found ways to accelerate and protect new underwater bio-structures.
ARC Marine is working with offshore construction to deploy Reef Cubes, which accelerate new reef creation around human-made structures. https://arcmarine.co.uk/
Coral Vita is restoring coral reefs by growing diverse and resilient coral reefs 50 times faster. https://www.coralvita.co/
ECOncrete produces innovative proprietary concrete technology. It enhances marine infrastructure by inducing the formation of bio-habitats. https://econcretetech.com/
To effectively fight climate change, we need more ocean data because you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get high-quality ocean data. However, new technologies are being deployed to capture more data, more regularly and in collaboration with existing marine industries.
Bering Data Collective is collecting essential ocean data by turning fishing vessels into scientific vessels of opportunity. https://berringdatacollective.com/
Sofar is a company passively collecting and sharing ocean data via a network of floating drifter buoys. https://www.sofarocean.com/
SINAY is accelerating marine data collection, analysis and sharing through new business models for better ocean management. https://sinay.ai/en/
UNDERSEE piggybacks on ferries to capture water quality data for river and aquaculture management. http://undersee.io/
Aquaculture represents an opportunity for a sustainable marine protein supply. But it still has some hurdles. These companies are building scalable technologies to tackle issues around sustainable fish feed, water contamination and animal welfare in fish farms.
Entocycle farms insects to create protein for animal feed that doesn’t cost the Earth. https://www.entocycle.com/
BiOceanor is a company preserving the aquatic environment through AI-powered water quality monitoring in fish farms. https://www.bioceanor.com/en
Deep Branch is turning carbon dioxide into protein for animal feed in industries such as aquaculture. https://deepbranch.com/
Tidal is Google’s aquaculture moonshot. They are bringing visibility to underwater ocean ecosystems via cameras and machine perception. https://www.x.company/projects/tidal/
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