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Australia's Blue Economy

Australia’s “Blue Economy” is estimated to be worth A$100b by 2025 (Blue Economy ) but this economic activity is underpinned by ocean health. Globally, oceans are under increasing pressure from climate change, overfishing and pollution, with for instance, ocean wildlife such as sharks and tunas reduced to 5-40% of their pre-1960s numbers. Such declines are not only of concern for the species but for oceans as these animals play significant roles in delivering ecosystem services such as resilience to climate change. Consequently, governments globally are establishing large marine protected areas (MPAs) in an effort to create refuges for wildlife from fishing that halt and reverse declines. There is a compelling need however to document the response to such management and that documentation requires innovative applications of technology to conservation globally levels.

Automated World Ocean Wildlife Survey and Analysis.

AWOWSA will transform video-based analysis, the current basis for documenting the health of open ocean wildlife (primarily sharks and fishes), from manual, cost- and skill-intensive processing to automated. As free, open-access technology, AWOWSA will dramatically enhance capacity of researchers to conduct ocean science and improve management capacity in a knowledge-sharing world.

Knowledge is power and the first step in solving the challenge of ocean wildlife declines is to obtain the data needed to determine their status in a given location and then document their recovery through management.

To support data acquisition, a standard method for field work (mid-water baited remote underwater video systems; BRUVS) has been developed at the University of Western Australia (meeuwig.org) that allows non-lethal documentation of ocean wildlife, a key attribute when working with threatened species.

However, this transformation of field data collection has led to an exponential increase in video content requiring processing, a currently time consuming and costly process. Indeed, any advantages of using a cheap field method that can be deployed globally is offset by the obstacle presented by image/video analysis.

Flixsense is proud to partner with Center for Marina Futures (UWA) to power the video analysis for this global platform for marine biologist/researchers around the world. (AWOWSA)