2 Comments | May 18, 2010

Surveillance and Enforcement of Remote Maritime Areas

While many conservationists have been understandably focussing their efforts to protect the marine environment, few have given much thought to how they will be enforced. Likewise, policing is somehow not as catchy politically as a new MPA announcement. Perhaps it has simply been assumed that it is all under control.

In reality, surveillance and enforcement agencies find themselves with increasingly large and remote areas to be protected, often with reduced resources. The report below outlines some of the new and emerging technologies to keep track of what is happening on the water.

SERMA Tech Options

When we arranged the expert workshop on this topic, there was some initial distrust. The “cops” weren’t used to the attention, and weren’t used to talking to scientists and conservation advocates. But the ice soon thawed, and we all found that we had a lot more in common that we might have thought. Lawlessness and irresponsible behaviour on the seas hurt the law abiding, and us all.

SERMA Workshop Conclusions & Recommendations

The topic of SERMA does not stop at technical options, and will require still more work, looking into topics such as the overlap between environmental monitoring and human surveillance; enforcement considerations, and other approaches to encouraging compliance in remote locations. We are currently seeking funding to support these complementary topics and any suggestions are welcome!


Trisha Nettleship 4:54 pm - 20th May:

How can I become involved in Marine Surveillance? I am trained as a Fisheries Officer & sailor.

jodi.stark 11:49 am - 2nd June:

Thanks for your inquiry Trisha.
I would look into the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Observer programs. There is good information and links on this website:

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