Throughout the 20th century, the marine environment has been under attack, and the assailant has been us. Overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, biodiversity decline, ocean acidification, and an increase in marine heatwaves are challenging the living things that depend upon the ocean, including people. A sea change, however, is occurring in response to these troubling trends. More and more, humanity is revolutionizing its relationship with the ocean. For example, funding for marine conservation worldwide has doubled to nearly $2 billion over the last decade. Astonishing advances are being made in sustainable fishing, aquaculture, marine debris prevention and response, habitat restoration, offshore renewable energy, and ocean exploration and mapping.
The U.S. has played a leading role in these efforts, and at the forefront has been the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA has recognized that public-private partnerships with universities, nonprofit organizations, and industry are exponentially expanding what the agency can accomplish, and the most dramatic example is that involving marine autonomy technology. Recent developments involving NOAA’s use of the iXblue (now Exail) DriX uncrewed surface vessel (USV) demonstrate the remarkable utility of NOAA’s leadership in marine autonomy in revolutionizing our relationship with the ocean.
Speaker: Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, PhD, US Navy (ret), CEO of Ocean STL Consulting