The ubiquity of smartphones means we all have a powerful tool for protecting the environment right in our pockets—if we stock them with the right apps.
Ghost Gear Reporter is one app that sailors would do well to have on hand. It allows folks to log the location of derelict fishing gear discovered along the shoreline, on the water, or on the seabed via a simple, user-friendly form. The app relays that information to local conservation organizations for clean-up, where possible.
An estimated 800,000 tons of commercial fishing gear winds up in the ocean annually, and it routinely ensnares sea life. The app lets users specify the location, type, and details of the gear, including simple diagrams and definitions to help users provide the most clear and useful assessment information to get it cleaned up faster.
Another app that uses location data to help protect the marine ecosystem is Savvy Navvy, a marine maps app. Through a partnership with Clean Sailors and The Ocean Conservation Trust, the company has begun to add information on sensitive seabeds to its app to encourage sailors to find alternative anchorages.
Ten percent of the ocean’s carbon is stored in seagrass meadows, making them key players in the effort to minimize the effects of climate change. In fact, they can be up to 35 times more efficient in absorbing carbon than rainforests of the same area. However, they are one of the most threatened biomes on the planet.
This campaign, which goes by the hashtag #protectourbeds on social media, aims to help boaters avoid contributing to the destruction of these vital ecosystems by mapping, sharing, and finding alternatives to disturbing these seabeds.
“Making this data visible to those of us who can mitigate our impact when boating, across the world, is incredibly exciting and just makes so much sense to seagrass conservation efforts globally,” says Holly Manvell, founder of Clean Sailors.
Currently, this data is only available in select locations across the pond, but Savvy Navvy is seeking partners to expand the program. Both are available in the app store.