Vodacom South Africa and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in South Africa said on Monday that they have teamed up to “pilot solutions to safeguard marine mammals against entanglements”.
The pilot is taking place at Saldanha Bay, north of Cape Town, where traditional fishing communities are struggling with problems caused by overfishing, pollution and climate change, they said.
“A sustainable alternative has been the development of offshore, rope-grown mussel farms which provide both a low-impact, protein-rich source of seafood along with employment and economic development. But, while rope-grown mussels are green-listed, a potential risk is entanglements of marine mammals, including whales,” Vodacom and WWF South Africa said.
“Using cameras and hydrophones, the AI-based technology solution is able to alert mussel farmers to whales in the Saldanha Bay Aquaculture Development Zone and activate an incident and emergency response protocol in the case of an entanglement.”
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Beyond its ability to prevent whale entanglements, the early warning system will also be used to gather scientific data by recording the movement of marine life and could help to prevent ship strikes for other “superpods” such as seals and dolphins.
Pnce the pilot project has been completed in Saldanha Bay, the solution could be expanded to other coastal areas and fisheries, Vodacom said. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media
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