UK Launches World’s Largest Ocean Monitoring System to Protect Marine Biodiversity

The United Kingdom government has launched the world’s largest ocean monitoring system to protect marine biodiversity.  The government, under its Blue Belt Program, will be installing underwater cameras to monitor the ocean wildlife of its overseas territories. This Global Ocean Wildlife Analysis Network will cover about four million km² of the ocean.

Under the project, the camera rigs will gather important biological information from 10 overseas territories of the UK in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Researchers of the University of Western Australia and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) have collaborated to deliver this non-intrusive underwater camera network. 

The network consists of Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS) which has been developed by Blue Abacus. It will help in developing a better understanding of marine wildlife and biodiversity. This will also provide data that will help scientists in developing marine management and protection strategies.

UK Launches World's Largest Ocean Monitoring System to Protect Marine Biodiversity

Several marine species are on a verge of extinction mostly due to overfishing | Image: GVI UK

Prime Minister, UK Boris Johnson said,

The marine wildlife living along the coastlines of British Overseas Territories was some of the most spectacular in the world and we must do more to protect it. Cutting-edge technology, such as these cameras, will be vital in our crusade against climate change. Our marine experts are world-leaders in protecting our ocean and the myriad of species that live within it.

The £2 million project has been entirely funded by the UK government and will last for the next four years. A report that was published in the journal Nature earlier this year revealed some surprising details about marine life. As per the report, the population of sharks and rays has declined by 71% over the last 50 years.

Co-Founder of Blue Abacus and Professor, University of Western Australia, Jessica Meeuwig said that the world’s tuna, sharks, and large reef fish have seen a continued decline, a trend which must be reversed. This program will give decision-makers the evidence they need to act decisively in support of marine life.

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