ProtectedSeas and EMH Systems Ltd. forge alliance for revolutionary marine conservation

Jun 30, 2023

PALO ALTO, CA & NEW YORK, NY – Marking a new era in the marine conservation industry, Protected-Seas and EMH Systems Ltd. announce an ambitious partnership designed to bolster conservation efforts through the expansion of data-sharing capabilities and improved environmental insights.

EMH Systems Ltd., a trailblazer in environmental vessel navigation, has unveiled a strategic alliance with Protected-Seas, the leading curator of a comprehensive global database on marine protected areas. This partnership harnesses the power of synergy and innovation to reshape the commercial shipping industry by providing unmatched environmental protection solutions.

As the maritime sector grapples with the pressing need for sustainable practices, EMH Systems Ltd. and Protected-Seas are combining their unique resources and knowledge, and are poised to pioneer environmentally responsible practices within the commercial shipping industry. Through shared data and insights, we aim to revolutionize the industry’s approach to environmental protection.

“We are excited about this partnership with Protected-Seas,” said Christopher Nagy, Co-Founder at EMH Systems Ltd. “Working together enables us to maximize our collective expertise and data, catalyzing positive change within the commercial shipping industry. As the industry expands, it’s crucial that conservation efforts keep pace. Our combined efforts present us with a unique opportunity to ensure this happens.”

Renowned for developing cutting-edge solutions to environmental challenges within the maritime domain, EMH Systems Ltd. equips maritime operators with state-of-the-art tools and services. These enable operators to mitigate environmental impact, enhance efficiency, and comply with stringent regulations.

Virgil Zetterlind, Director of Protected-Seas, said, “Compliance starts with understanding. Accessing the where and what of ocean regulations can be challenging on the water and we hope through this partnership with EMH we can help commercial shipping stay aware of the rules that apply and maximize compliance so that everyone can benefit from a healthy ocean. “

Protected-Seas, celebrated for its exhaustive database on marine protected areas, provides an indispensable resource. Their proficiency in tracking and overseeing protected zones enables maritime operators to navigate responsibly, particularly in ecologically sensitive areas.

This partnership between EMH Systems Ltd. and Protected-Seas is set to spark an industry-wide shift towards environmental stewardship. Our mutual dedication to data sharing and insight integration will fuel the creation of innovative environmental solutions. By embedding granular knowledge of marine protected areas into vessel navigation systems, they empower operators to make informed decisions that prioritize environmental sustainability.

For more information on how this partnership is poised to make waves in the maritime conservation industry, visit www.emhsystems.com and www.protectedseas.net.

Largest Global Map of Marine Life Protections Released

Jun 13, 2023
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One-of-a-kind ocean planning tool will be showcased during June 21 webinar

ProtectedSeas Navigator—the first global map of the world’s marine life regulations and their boundaries is now available. Navigator is a free, interactive map of over 21,000 marine protected and managed areas across 220 countries and territories and in over 25 languages.

Navigator offers a global view of marine life protections to help inform progress towards international conservation goals, including protecting 30 percent of the global ocean by 2030, which was adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada, known as COP15.

“Navigator brings together independently-verified regulatory information for over 21,000 marine protected areas into one interactive map as a first step toward understanding where current marine protections exist,” said Virgil Zetterlind, director of ProtectedSeas. “We created this one-of-a-kind tool to assist international ocean conservation planning and assessment.”

In addition to a comprehensive inventory of marine protected areas (MPAs), the Navigator map includes other marine managed areas such as water protection areas, speed-limit zones to protect marine mammals, fisheries management areas, and other effective areas-based conservation measures, or OECMs.

The Navigator team scoured the globe to compile all marine protection information in the global database for marine protected areas (MPAs) large and small—including the 0.03 square kilometers (0.02 square miles) Batalang Bato Marine Sanctuary in the Philippines—the smallest MPA in the world—where the only known regulatory information was posted on a sign at the site.

The work involved creating the first digital maps for over 2,400 of areas—or roughly 10 percent of the areas—that were previously only detailed on paper. Over 42-person years went into developing this comprehensive database of marine life protections.

The ProtectedSeas team also created a system to evaluate an area’s level of protection from fishing where each area is assigned a Level of Fishing Protection (LFP) score based on an analysis of restrictions on marine life extraction.

The culmination of eight years of research and development, this open-access tool provides scientists, decision-makers and the conservation community with regulatory information on the world’s marine protected areas to support global MPA analysis, design and management.

An analysis of Navigator data shows that 3.4 percent of the global ocean is highly protected from fishing based on the ProtectedSeas’ LFP scoring system. On a country level, Palau has the highest percentage of marine area—79 percent—protected from fishing.

Detailed county- and area-level reports can be viewed and downloaded in Navigator for all marine protected and other managed areas to analyze legal protections relative to species, habitats, and other factors to identify potential gaps and inform new protections.

The Navigator tool will be showcased during a webinar on Wednesday, June 21 at 10:00 AM PDT. Register for the webinar here.

“Many areas we had to map were tough—from digitizing complex boundaries that followed coastlines and excluded islands to following connect-the-dots style descriptions to understand the regulations and boundaries,” said Zetterlind.

International collaboration to share capacity development to observe and preserve data on life in the sea in compliance with ocean regulations

Apr 13, 2023
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The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) of the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) and the ProtectedSeas recognize the need for globally coordinated and sustained ocean and biodiversity observing and data collection systems. Such systems are urgently needed to systematically assess the state of the ocean’s biodiversity including biological resources and ecosystems, and how these will change in the future. This knowledge will provide the basis to more effectively conserve and sustainably use marine life both within and beyond areas of national jurisdiction.

A coordinated global ocean biodiversity observing system, especially one that includes regulatory data, would provide the data, information and knowledge needed to inform the progress towards, for example, the global 2030 targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (including SDG 14), targets and indicators of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and activities related to UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The agreement between MBON and the ProtectedSeas recognizes ongoing cooperation to reinforce ocean biodiversity observing capacity and use the best available resources and expertise. By collaborating with each other on data, biodiversity, and levels of fishing protection interpretive needs, we can improve data and information sharing. This will result in more robust data that can be used for evaluating and assessing existing and future MPAs.

ProtectedSeas believes it can help accelerate the analysis to better understand protection levels in existing marine protected areas, and beyond. Partnering will potentially facilitate more informed marine spatial planning needs for 30×30, and other future assessments. Virgil Zetterlind, Director of ProtectedSeas said: It has been our delight to share the regulatory data we have available for 21,700 Marine Protected Areas, in 200 countries and territories, and translated into 25 languages with MBON, as their team has been adept at amplifying this resource among its vast network of international practitioners.

The MBON is excited to collaborate with ProtectedSeas to support the international science and operations community to better understand marine protected areas through a regulatory perspective and inform map assessments, says Joana Soares, Executive Secretary of MBON and Project Officer of the AIR Centre. Together, we can amplify awareness of the ProtectedSeas Navigator program and the work MBON is tackling to help find solutions to conserve coastal and marine biodiversity and ecosystem services around the world.

Study Offers New Approach to Conduct Large-Scale Protection Assessments of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Feb 23, 2023

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2023) — A new study offers a science-based method to assess marine protected areas (MPAs) protection levels when information on regulated human activities is limited. The study, recently published in the journal Marine Policy, provides a new technique to inform progress towards international conservation goals, including protecting 30 percent of marine areas by 2030, which was adopted in Dec. 2022 at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada, known as COP15.

Marine protected areas are an important tool to conserve marine biodiversity but oftentimes assessing the level of protection for MPAs can be difficult due to limited regulatory information on human activity.

The analysis, based on real-world scenarios using MPAs and other managed areas in California, showed that the ProtectedSeas Navigator Level of Fishing Protection (LFP) score can help guide assumptions about whether specific fishing methods required for assessments are likely allowed or prohibited when those methods are not mentioned in
management plans.

The LFP guidance reliably identified areas that scored highly or fully protected under a full analysis when combined with assuming unknown non-fishing activities such as aquaculture and bottom exploitation, to be ‘prohibited’ while unknown activities such as boating, anchoring, and fishing activities to be ‘allowed.’

“This case study illustrates how Navigator is a valuable resource to estimate progress towards 30×30. These findings show that Navigator can accelerate MPA review and help guide assessment decisions even when information is incomplete,” said ProtectedSeas Director Virgil Zetterlind, a coauthor of the study.

In the first set of scenarios in this analysis, information available in direct management plans was applied to the Regulations Based Classification System (RBCS). Ninety-nine and 100 percent correct classification of fully and highly protected areas under the RBCS, were obtained when unknown activities such as aquaculture, bottom exploitation, and bottom extraction were assumed ‘prohibited’ while unknown and boating, anchoring, and fishing activities were assumed as ‘allowed.’

In the second set of scenarios, the researchers used only information available in the ProtectedSeas Navigator that matched those in the RBCS with no additional research. They found that the accuracy remained high, with 92 and 94 percent of fully and highly protected areas classified correctly when using assumptions for fishing activities
assisted by the Navigator’s Level of Fishing Protection score.

The RBCS predicts MPA effectiveness based on the types of human activities allowed and their relative impacts on the marine environment. While comprehensive, these assessments are resource intensive as they require significant knowledge about a wide range of fishing methods and human activities that are often managed by different
authorities.

ProtectedSeas Navigator captures more than 50 individual attributes of protected areas including the allowed or prohibited status of eight different fishing gear and 10 other human activities. Navigator’s LFP scoring system uses an easy-to-follow decision tree that does not require a complete set of fishing and activity restrictions to assess a 1 to 5 score.

ProtectedSeas’ Navigator is the most comprehensive database of marine life protections and their boundaries available. Navigator provides a free, interactive map of regulatory information for MPAs and marine managed areas (MMAs) in over 22,000 marine areas for coastal and island countries and the high seas and the complete set of Navigator data is available in many formats and channels to support assessment, planning, and analysis.

“Using standardized, scientifically validated methods to assess global progress towards the UN 30×30 target is critical to ensuring effective conservation and not just creating more paper parks” said Zetterlind. Navigator can help the marine conservation community understand where they need to go to create protections.”

World’s largest source of marine environment regulations now available on free Deckee boating app

Dec 17, 2022

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Oct. 17, 2022) — ProtectedSeas Navigator, the world’s most comprehensive database of marine life protections and their boundaries, has announced a new partnership with Deckee to make its environmental information freely available to boaters in an easy-to-use mobile app for the first time.

The Navigator database includes regulation summaries, boundaries, allowed human activities, and Level of Fishing protection assessments for over 20,000 marine protected areas (MPAs) in more than 109 countries and territories, including the United States.

The free Deckee mobile app, available worldwide for both iOS and Android devices, helps anyone spending time on the water stay safe and informed with features such as location sharing, local knowledge, trip logging, marine weather forecasts, safety alerts and official zones and regulations.

The new partnership between Deckee and ProtectedSeas links together the most comprehensive database of marine conservation measures with an app that enables boaters to easily access important regulatory information in the areas where they are fishing or recreating.

ProtectedSeas Director Virgil Zetterlind stated: “We are thrilled to partner with Deckee to augment their incredibly powerful boating app with even more information to help keep boaters safe and situationally aware on the water. This integration of ProtectedSeas data into the Deckee app helps boaters conserve and protect the waters they love by staying aware of rules and regulations.”

Deckee’s Chief Operations Officer Micheal Pulo stated: “Being able to enhance the free Deckee experience with the regulatory protection data from ProtectedSeas has bolstered our capabilities and enabled boaters to easily access the marine regulations in the areas they are transiting through. This synergy is unique and exciting, and allows us to provide a more robust tool for everyone to understand our ocean areas.”

For each protected area, Deckee app users will now be able to access a summary of key regulations, allowed status of specific fishing and other human activities, and a standardized level of fishing protection score. The ProtectedSeas team anticipates completing global coverage in 2022, with over 80% of the world’s MPAs already covered.

Deckee is available for free download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You can also use Deckee in your browser at deckee.com/maps.

ProtectedSeas, Law of the Wild Partner on African and Latin American Marine Protected Areas

Dec 8, 2022

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Dec. 8, 2022) — The ProtectedSeas Navigator now includes regulatory Information for important protected areas in Africa and Latin America, including Benin, Gabon, and Panama. These special places, now available on the Navigator’s interactive map of current marine life protections and their boundaries, represent a major expansion of the database, which is on track to complete global coverage by the end of 2022.

The new partnership with Law of the Wild, an environmental law firm with a mission to secure justice for wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems worldwide, was instrumental in the effort to complete these hard-to-find regulations for marine areas offshore Africa and Latin America, including 20,060 square miles (51,955 square kilometers) of marine protected areas in Gabon and 37,916 square miles (98,228.25 square kilometers) in Panama.

The Navigator database includes over 24,000 MPAs in more than 120 countries and overseas territories, including the High Seas, North America and the Caribbean. For each protected area, Navigator includes a synopsis of key regulations, allowed status of specific fishing and other human activities, and a standardized level of fishing protection score. All information is available in English and in each country’s official language. The ProtectedSeas team anticipates completing global coverage by the end of this year.

This partnership between Law of the Wild and ProtectedSeas strengthens and builds awareness of the foundational underpinning of marine protection by highlighting the legal codified regulations of these special places. Partnering with legal experts at Law of the Wild who know the importance of evaluating the law to truly understand ocean protections is rare and provides a huge opportunity to speed up our progress towards completing global coverage.

ProtectedSeas Director Virgil Zetterlind stated:
“We are thrilled to partner with the team at Law ofthe Wild—they were instrumental in sourcing difficult-to-find regulations, which as a result of this effort are now available online to any researcher, policy analyst, or decision maker who is interested in marine spatial planning as it relates to governments protecting 30% of their waters by 2030. We are sharing the last seven years of intense data collection work with colleagues in marine conservation to aid in the dissemination and analysis of global marine protected areas.”

Law of the Wild’s Founder Catherine Pruett stated:
“Overexploited and underprotected, the oceans are in grave peril. As it stands, there is only a patchwork of conventions that provide any measure of security for marine ecosystems and countries face many challenges when trying to strengthen relevant national laws and sufficiently enforce existing protected areas. By teaming up with unique organizations like ProtectedSeas, Law of the Wild is able to broaden its capacity to help address these concerns. No one else has adequate resources to build a comprehensive data set like ProtectedSeas. This combination of expertise is much needed in today’s world, and our team is delighted to work together with ProtectedSeas to further demystify the protection levels for marine areas of the various countries in which we work in Africa and Latin America.”

After approximately seven years in development, ProtectedSeas is proud to offer this tool as a free, open-source platform to aid marine spatial planning and assessments. A wide audience, including MPA managers, resource protection staff, policy makers, scientists, the conservation community, and the public can access ocean conservation regulations and protection metrics at https://map.staging3.navigatormap.org/. Many factors impact the effectiveness of MPAs to protect marine life, including size, location, habitat representation, ecological connectivity, and, importantly, the degree to which extractive marine activities are restricted or prohibited. To see the existing legal protections for over 80% of the world’s MPAs visit https://map.staging3.navigatormap.org/.