Sunday, April 7, 2013
With the success of CITES this year and the listing of several new ocean species the next step for conservation is enforcement.
Regional fishermen and fishing interests are slow to adopt CITES agreements, and set aside areas are often plundered for quick returns regardless of species listings.
Dive Sentry was created to address these problems:
There are an estimated 22 million divers worldwide, of those "active divers" about 1.2 million take regular dive trips around the world to experience the oceans.
Many of these divers recreate in places that are considered Bio Sphere reserves, or Sanctuaries of one form or another. Of these divers many witness regional fisheries abuses like long lining in Coco's, and nets in Galapagos. They often take videos and images of these abuses but are told not to report these events by dive operations who are likely to be negatively impacted by regional politics should their operation be labeled as the "whistle-blowers."
Dive Sentry is engaging our greatest resource for conservation, 1.2 million eyes on the ocean.
Additionally, Dive Sentry automatically allows divers to submit formatted reports and to contact regional fisheries agencies of violations, these regional and international contact lists are updated quarterly. These user generated reports include real time videos and images of netted, finned, and long lined animals.
In an age where millions of square miles are being declared as Shark Sanctuaries without any enforcement or monitoring budgets, Dive Sentry looks to be the eyes and ears of these set aside areas to realize conservation change by highlighting abuses in a real time and very public format.
Intent and Purpose
The Dive Sentry website has two components to it making the reporting of fisheries violations both anonymous and effective and will enlist the media by providing a real time RSS feed and posted reports. The first section is the reporting section. Divers are asked to submit reports by well defined regions with drill down to actual dive sites like Cocos. Each regional report will auto send uploaded video and images to various regional fisheries agencies responsible for fisheries monitoring and enforcement. These reports will be anonymous, the divers and the operations on which they witnessed the violations will remain secure.
Dive Sentry will actively help the individual diver both with the formatting of the violation report, and providing tips how to shoot effective images and video for enforcement and the media, such as vessel identification numbers, time and date of the violation, species reports, and flag recognition.
Dive Sentry will also post all reports on the homepage with an RSS reed for the media along with a geographic tag and free use of images and video with submitted reports. The Dive Sentry website will be linked to all social media outlets and will include an iPhone app that will allow divers to take images and video and submit reports from anywhere in the world, including docks, marinas, and land based outlets selling fresh and dried products.
The media component will be essential. Typically the media is far too busy to chase down reports of fisheries violations. Additionally compounded violations are hard to track. With Dive Sentry a lasting record of repeated geographic violations within set aside areas will be realized. Imagine the impact of just one years worth of video and images of long lining, gill nets, and dead animals on the seafloor attributed to one set aside area.
We all know that poaching happens, we are aware that set aside areas are repeated violated by operations that operate in the shadows. Dive Sentry seeks to alert the world to these violations by exposing them to the media and in a place where, over time, people can connect the violators to the site, and perhaps provide the overwhelming evidence to those who should be monitoring and enforcing these sites that something must be done.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Imagine a world where 1.2 million words are compounded by 100,000 images and video that are all fed to a waiting regional and international media.
Welcome to Dive Sentry. Created in 2011 for the future of the oceans.
If you see it. Report it.
About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.