How Technology is Being Used to Protect Oceans Discussed

Three men who use technology to help protect the world’s oceans described their efforts in a  Nov. 29 panel discussion in Santa Barbara to an audience concerned about the sustainability of the Seven Seas.

The program, “Sustainability Hub: BlueTech & Marine Conservation,” was presented at the Funk Zone Impact  Hub. It was the brainchild of Kylie Wagner, director of sustainability at Impact Hub and co-sponsored by Green Business Santa Barbara and the Community Environmental Council.

Matt Pickett, of the nonprofit Oceans Unmanned group, talked about how he uses flying drones to  track large ocean-going animals such as whales.

Oceans Unmanned’s mission is to protect oceans and coastal marine environment by using unmanned technologies and promoting their safe and environmentally conscious operation through education and research. 
Pickett said the research program has been operating for about three years now. One of its efforts is helping large whales from getting entangled in fishermen’s nets. Oceans Unmanned drones with cameras fly ahead of fishing ships to help protect the huge mammals.
Ian Kellett, of Sea Legacy, discussed how his group uses high-tech photography to tell stories about what is happening in the oceans. His work has been used in National Geographic.
Sea Legacy documented how porpoises were being herded and stabbed in a “death nest.” This lead to legislation banning such practices, he said.
Kellett said his group’s work has reached some 8 million people since it began in 2011 to help create ways to aid ocean causes.
UC Santa Barbara alum Ben Best discussed how data he collects is being used for ocean conservation. He uses marine bio-geography for mapping the oceans.
This helps map where mammals, such as sea birds, are going and where they are now.
Satellite technology is used to build models to monitor distinct species, he said. The information is used to help minimize negative environmental impacts on marine life.
“We have the technology to bring in the data to make people care,” Best said.

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