MARINE PROTECTED AREA
Despite covering more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, and providing uncalculated resources and services that support all of civilization, only 0.5 percent of our oceans have received formal protection, compared to 13 percent of land that has been protected. Increasing the size of the world’s marine-protected areas (MPAs) is crucial to ocean health and, ultimately, the planet’s health. Yet there is a glaring lack of information on the habitats, resources, and ecosystems present in our seas, making protection, monitoring, and enforcement of MPAs a nearly impossible task.
Marine protection has the additional challenge that the world’s oceans are thoroughly interconnected and form the basis of economic activity for billions of people and communities throughout the world. Thus, one-size-fits-all approaches to creating protected areas, e.g. where fishermen are completely excluded, are not sufficient for protecting biodiversity or the value that oceans provide to humans. The Marine Protection XPRIZE will incentivize technological breakthroughs that enable communities and governments to identify and determine protected areas and their uses, as well as to monitor and protect the valuable habitats and species of our seas.
The winning team will create a universal MPA monitoring solution that autonomously assesses the biological characteristics, species, and resources over a 100 sq. km area for less than $100 per day. The winning solution must be useable in diverse environments and be effective at assessing the potential resources and uses specific areas may provide to nearby communities. Teams will be challenged to provide continuous data at a frequency of at least once a day over the course of month-long trials in three dynamic environments. They must accurately create a baseline of the habitat and provide accurate updates on the changes to the ecosystem that can be utilized by communities of low technical capacity or education. Additional criteria will test the effects of human use, invasive species, fishing and resource extraction, and water quality impacts from land-based activities on the state of the habitat.
To find out how you can help support this XPRIZE, please email [email protected].