Our oceans are under siege. Many of the world’s coastal marine ecosystems have been trawled, polluted, and overfished, and marine protected areas (MPAs) have become our last strongholds for protecting intact coastal and reef ecosystems. 

MPAs provide a sanctuary for fish and other marine wildlife, allowing fisheries to regenerate, maintaining healthy coral reefs, and supporting resilient marine ecosystems. In many developing countries, coastal MPAs are important centers of fishing, diving, and tourism, providing a critical source of food and income for local communities.

Despite their importance, illegal activities continue to deplete MPAs worldwide. Under our Global Park Defense program, Global Conservation focuses on providing the systems, technology and training needed for the protection of marine protected areas. While many GPD principles are the same for terrestrial and marine parks, some special consideration is needed when protecting our oceans. Global Park Defense provides a low-cost, highly effective system for protecting endangered MPAs, helping marine park authorities to detect suspicious fishing activity day or night.

Key aspects of GPD for MPAs:

  • Marine Monitor Radar (M2 & M3)
  • Long-Range Cameras
  • UAVs (Drones)
  • SMART Marine Patrols
  • Marine Warden Capacity Building

Working with the Anthropocene Institute, Wildcoast, NOAA, OneReef, ProNatura, Coral Triangle and other conservation partners, we are scaling up Global Park Defense for marine park protection globally. Currently, Global Conservation funds deployment of Global Park Defense in twelve MPAs worldwide.

The M3 monitor is a mobile marine monitoring system that enables MPA managers to closely track vessels in their area.

Marine Monitor Systems: We partner with the Anthropocene Institute to deploy their Marine Monitor (M2) systems, which provide radar for fishing inspectors and wildlife rangers. 

The M2 is a low-cost, radar-based monitoring platform for MPAs. The M2 system uses off-theshelf, commercially-proven radars and opensource software to enable managers of MPAs to track over 30 vessels in their area in real time. This allows those enforcing rules and regulations to efficiently allocate limited resources, which are otherwise wasted patrolling the vast ocean.

Illegal fishermen are apprehended in Cabo Pulmo, Baja Mexico.

Global Conservation is scaling up M2 deployments in UNESCO World Heritage Parks like Palau Northern Reefs, Jardines de la Reina in Cuba and Cabo Pulmo National Park in Mexico.

Global Conservation is also excited to support research and development of next-generation marine-hardened, off-grid Mobile Marine Monitor (M3) trailer systems, which can be shipped in standard shipping containers anywhere in the world. We can now fit two fully-working M3s in a shipping container and deploy globally.

Marine rangers at work in Palau Northern Reefs.

Using SMART technology to integrate data from M2s and M3s with other information sources, marine park rangers are making more poaching arrests. In the marine forum, GPS, radio communication, laser & microwave sensors, and radar are used to monitor oceans and ports. 

Like on land, the SMART system compiles important information about hotspots, fishing locations, smuggling routes, arrests, etc. All of this information makes patrolling and responses much more efficient. Targeted patrolling is especially key because of the vast expanse of the ocean.