Pitcairn Islands – Mālama Honua Connections

Recently, Hōkūleʻa and her crew visited the Pitcairn Islands for the second time in Hōkūleʻa’s 42-year voyaging history, sailing through the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve. At roughly 3 ½ times the size of the land area of the U.K., the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve protects some of the most pristine marine ecosystems of Island Earth. The waters are home to 1,249 identified species, including a few found nowhere else on Earth. The reserve also safeguards one of the world’s only two remaining raised coral atoll as well as 40-Mile Reef, the deepest and most well-developed coral reef known.

But even for wealthy nations, enforcement of reserve rules—such as prohibitions on commercial fishing and seafloor mining—in such a remote area is challenging and expensive. To address that issue, new methods and cutting-edge technologies have been used to develop an enforcement strategy for this reserve.

In January 2016, Liquid Robotics partnered with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and companies to deploy a Wave Glider to surveil Pitcairn Island’s protected areas. Liquid Robotics’ Wave Glider is a hybrid wave- and solar-powered unmanned surface vehicle designed to help protect marine protected areas from illegal fishing as well as to perform environmental science research and monitoring, powered only by nature.

Wave Glider. Photo: Liquid Robotics, Inc.

Wave Glider. Photo: Liquid Robotics, Inc.

Initial testing yielded incredible results. The Wave Glider was able to acoustically detect vessels across 18 nautical miles with underwater hydrophones and was able to successfully communicate data and work with satellites data during the entirety of the operation, to help detect vessels and illegal incursions in the 324,000 square mile protected area.

The success of the Pitcairn Islands mission demonstrated to Liquid Robotics, the United Kingdom and the entire illegal fishing community the potential for unmanned systems in conducting persistent monitoring and surveillance missions to combat illegal fishing.

Even with progress like this, only about 3 percent of the ocean has been designated with strong protections. Recent science shows that at least 30 percent needs to be safeguarded in order to conserve biodiversity, support fisheries productivity, and ensure maximum economic, cultural and life-supporting benefits.

In line with this insight, Liquid Robotics has also been part of Hawaiʻi’s local solutions in many ways. Liquid Robotics is a partner of the Promise to Pae ʻĀina o Hawaiʻi Collective Impact Effort, the environmental mission of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, which also enhances and supports the environmental sustainability initiatives and collaborative efforts in the state of Hawaiʻi. Alongside efforts such as the Ocean Resource Management Plan, the Aloha+ Challenge and Governor Ige’s Sustainable Hawaiʻi Initiative, the partners in this collective impact initiative helped to shape one of the commitments identified at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, which is to effectively manage 30% of Hawaiʻi’s nearshore waters in the Main Hawaiian Islands by the year 2030. To learn more about Hawaiʻi’s 30 by 30 Oceans Target Commitment and Promise to PaeʻĀina visit http://www.hokulea.com/pvs-applauds-states-commitment-manage-30-percent-hawaiis-ocean-2030/.

To read more about Liquid Robotics and the Wave Glider, visit https://www.liquid-robotics.com/

Homecoming - Save the Date - Banner Feb 17 Update

Hōkūle‘a Homecoming – Save the Date

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