SeaTracker

A digital solution for improved management of Marine Protected Areas

SeaTracker 

A digital solution for improved management of Marine Protected Areas

Across the world, Marine Protected Areas are a key tool for preserving biodiversity and traditional cultures in the marine environment. However, there is concern that many MPAs are mostly legislative exercises, poorly enforced and not effectively providing protection¹, often referred to as ‘paper parks’².  In many instances, this is because managers don’t have the real-time information and longitudinal data they need to support action in the field, decisions in the board room and enforcement in the courts, nor effective means by which to engage with stakeholders, when stakeholder engagement is considered to be the most important factor affecting MPA success³.

SeaTracker is an innovative and easy-to use solution that address these issues, and is already being applied in the MPAs of Raja Ampat, the world’s most marine bio diverse location.

How it Works

A software solution designed by The SEA People, SeaTracker helps MPA Management Authorities, scientists, NGOs and other relevant departments and stakeholders to stay informed and make decisions about MPAs based on real time information.

Developed to meet the unique needs of MPA Management,  SeaTracker’s custom design harnesses the power of GIS and enables rangers to easily record information from the field giving a real time overview of activities within a  Protected Area.

SeaTracker Marine Park Monitoring Raja Ampat The SEA People

This revolutionary, custom solution, provides opportunity for ranger patrols in the field to instantly record and report activities occurring in MPAs via smartphone, which is then displayed on digital dashboards within relevant departments, such as Marine Park Authorities, Police, Sea Police and Tourism Departments. In doing so, SeaTracker is able to provide these departments with a clear and real time overview of the human activities within MPAs, and provide field data which can be used to make both short and long term management decisions.

SeaTracker provides both time and date, geo-location and a description and photos of activities, all of which can be used to support immediate management decisions and longer term trend analysis.  The information gathered can also provide evidence to support authorities in law enforcement. Phase 2 Development will enable automated, real time alerts to be forwarded to relevant enforcement bodies about illegal activity. 

SeaTracker in Raja Ampat

SEA TRACKER Raja Ampat Marine Park Authority

SeaTracker is currently being deployed in Raja Ampat Marine Park in collaboration with local authorities and supporting NGOs, where this technology is being applied to field conservation and marine park management over the 2 million hectare MPA network. 

SEA TRACKER Raja Ampat Marine Park Authority

Conservation Technology & Collective Intelligence for improved MPA Management

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), are clearly defined areas of sea or ocean where human activities are regulated and more strictly managed than in surrounding waters; in a manner similar to the way protected areas and parks operate on land.

MPAs protect long term health of the marine environment by conserving and protecting marine life and the habitats they rely on (eg; coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests), and sustain the vital natural processes and life-support systems these habitats provide. MPAs also play a key role in protecting and preserving the traditional and cultural practices of local communities that live in them.

All over the world, the primary function of MPAs is to achieve the long-term conservation of nature, associated ecosystem services and cultural connection and values.  Unfortunately, in many MPAs around the world, management authorities and related departments (law enforcement, tourism) face similar management challenges as they lack real time data and information to support stakeholder engagement, management and enforcement.  

SEA TRACKER Marine Park and MPA Management Raja Ampat

Data and Information: Collection and Management

Obtaining the immense volume of field data required for effective MPA management is often a challenge and limitation for authorities.  Rangers are typically deployed to patrol MPAs and detect/deter violations or illegal activity, monitor ecological state and human impacts/pressures, whilst systematically gathering data relevant to these activities.  Land based teams are required to compile, analyse and archive the inbound data, then produce reports and recommendations, and make operational decisions.

Consistently gathering, recording, storing and analysing data is arduous and time consuming, and requires intensive human, logistic and financial resources. For this reason, data is often lacking, or analysis and reporting is delayed and difficult to archive, access and analyse, which ultimately prevents the best management response.

These problems are exacerbated in developing countries, where many of the world’s most biodiverse MPAs are located.

SEA TRACKER Marine Park and MPA Management Raja Ampat
SEA TRACKER Marine Park and MPA Management Raja Ampat

Lagging Communications: disrupting workflow, legal and operational response

Communicating sizeable quantities of information in real time is a management challenge in geographically large and/or remote areas, particularly those in a marine environment. Something as simple as reliable connectivity (phone or internet signal), or the use of antiquated paper reporting systems or radio calls can severely affect the ability of authorities to effectively manage their MPAs.

With respect to law enforcement, any delay in reports of illegal activity increases response time, reducing the potential effectiveness of law enforcement bodies.  Inaccurate information within reports also makes law enforcement and potential conviction more challenging. By using SeaTracker, ranger patrol units can accurately report incidents to law enforcement bodies in real time; whilst providing details and visual evidence of the incident. SeaTracker also enables units to record data relating to frequency and distribution of incidents in order to determine anomalies or unusual patterns of activity.

In areas where human activities can be harmful to sensitive marine environments and need careful monitoring, it is important to not only document human activities over space and time, but also be able to clearly communicate findings in order to make operational decisions relevant to the current situations rather than past, outdated conditions.

MPA management authorities can also use the information gather via SeaTracker to communicate effectively with stakeholders; providing information about ecological state, regulations, and overall performances of MPAs.

SEA TRACKER Marine Park and MPA Management Raja Ampat

 

SeaTracker effectively addresses these challenges by providing a platform that collects accurate data simply, displays it spatially and in real time, with archival and display functionality that  makes the process of analysis (historical and real time) automated and readily accessible to managers and stakeholders.

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donors, the work doesn’t get done!

CHECK OUR WISHLIST

Click Here to see our Wishlist of skills or items need to support our fieldwork.