National Geographic Pristine Seas and Vulcan Inc.’s Skylight program have teamed up to protect the world’s most precious ocean places. Our oceans contain most of the world’s biodiversity, yet only a tiny fraction of the ocean is protected. As ecosystems face the ever-increasing threats of destructive fishing practices, climate change, and pollution, it is more important than ever to protect them.
Ten years ago, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala launched the Pristine Seas project to help save the last wild places in the sea, with a focus on unique ecosystems that are vital to maintaining biodiversity. Pristine Seas and its partners work with governments to establish large, no-take marine protected areas (MPAs). In remote areas of the world, it is vital that surveillance and enforcement are combined with strong management to ensure that MPAs are protected sustainably.
Vulcan’s Skylight technology helps countries fill this need. Skylight is a satellite-based software that uses big data analytics, machine learning, and satellite technology to identify suspicious activity at sea, particularly focused on rendezvous and “dark vessels.” Pristine Seas and Skylight have teamed up to encourage the protection of the marine environment and the development and strengthening of their management and enforcement.
Dr. Enric Sala said of the partnership: “It is essential to establish sustainable management systems that ensure the long-term enforcement of protected areas of the world. Part of that solution is through cutting-edge monitoring technology solutions, like Vulcan Inc.’s Skylight program.”
Art Min, Vice President for Impact at Vulcan, said of the partnership: “We are thrilled to bring technology to the fight of enforcing MPAs. Vulcan and Pristine Seas are bringing complementary political and enforcement skills to protect our oceans. This is a powerful partnership.”
The partners will focus on a discrete number of important ecosystems around the world. Earlier this year, Skylight supported the government of Gabon, including working with that country’s partners to generate impact and deterrence [link to Gabon write-up] in protecting MPAs. Pristine Seas and Vulcan will soon be announcing another MPA enforcement project.