Point 97: New Technology to Manage and Protect the Oceans

Written by on November 15, 2013 in Spotlight, Technology

The many different uses of our ocean’s resources make effective management a big challenge. In addition to traditional uses like fishing and shipping, there are many emerging uses such as offshore wind power and deep sea mineral mining.

In order to successfully manage and protect the ocean, policy makers and resource managers need to know about all of the ways it is used by both people and marine life. The problem is that there really isn’t one place to access all that data, such as information on fisheries, maps of migrating marine mammals, areas with the greatest wind-energy potential and much, much more. That’s where Point 97 comes in.

Digital Deck smartphone app.

Digital Deck smartphone app. Photo courtesy of Point 97.

Point 97 is a high-tech company that provides highly customizable technology solutions and engagement strategies for coastal and marine planning around the globe.

What does that mean? It means the team at Point 97 will help its partners and clients strengthen their coastal communities and implement management policies that are best suited to that specific area. Their different technologies connect groups who wouldn’t ordinarily collaborate, including fishermen, tribes, resource managers and government officials. These technologies can already be found in several locations around the globe.

Charles Steinback, Director of Point 97, explained to MST how their technology is benefiting fishermen in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

Using Digital Deck back at the dock.

Using Digital Deck back at the dock. Photo courtesy of Point 97.

Typically, USVI fishermen simply record the required data about their catch on paper. It then usually takes about six years for that data to become digital, Steinback explained. Now, the fishermen are using Point 97’s Digital Deck™ phone apps to record required data. Not only is this a more reliable method than recording that information on paper, but it also provides the fishermen with real-time data to help them with better business planning. The same data collected from the app also provides the government with a more accurate record of the fishery.

In the Solomon Islands, that same technology is being used to monitor local fish markets. Previously, there was no data collection system in the Solomon Islands at all so neither the fishermen nor the government had a good sense of how the fish stocks are doing. Now, the Ministry of Fisheries is collecting data from fish vendors. Every day, someone goes to survey the market using Digital Deck™ in order to get a better picture of what is being sold, where it came from, how much it cost, and how much it is being sold for, Steinback explained. This information will be used to develop effective fisheries management plans.

In the Mid-Atlantic, Point 97 is using Marine Planner technology to build open-access ocean data portals that will help guide the National Ocean Policy. The data collected in the portals can easily be updated, refined and shared. Check it out.

After successfully using their technologies in several locations, Point 97 is announcing its world launch. Their technologies have an incredibly broad range of uses, from mapping out fishing grounds and marine protected areas, to helping to develop effective wind energy plans, so it won’t be long before we see it everywhere.

To learn more, read about some of their case studies and check out these FAQs.

Digital Deck smartphone app.

Digital Deck smartphone app. Photo courtesy of Point 97.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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