Ocean Power Technologies | OPT Featured in Federal News Network…
April 2021

OPT Featured in Federal News Network Discussion on Combating IUU Fishing With Autonomous Ocean Intelligence

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OPT President and CEO George Kirby and Dr. Ray Buettner, Director of the Sea, Land, Air Military Research initiative at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School recently had the opportunity to discuss the NPS’ Sea Land Air Military Research (SLAMR) Initiative with Federal News Network (FNN) and its potential impact on combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing with autonomous ocean intelligence.

“It’s been estimated that as much as 30% of global fish catches is unreported and it’s been estimated to be an economic loss of as much as $50 billion globally,” Kirby said. “The Coast Guard has indicated that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is one of the biggest threats to homeland security to the United States as well as globally. What we can do is provide a physical platform in the water that generates power – envision a forward deployable, over-the-horizon gateway node for both topside and subsea maritime domain awareness.”

“There are literally hundreds and hundreds of fishing vessels in these fleets and again all the normal things that they do in the environment are happening and our awareness of what’s going on with these fleets, it happens out of sight and out-of-mind,” Dr. Buettner explained. “Autonomous systems – drones partnered with ocean-powered buoys, for example, since we’re talking here with the folks from OPT, that generate their energy in a sustainable fashion … can provide the images, the pictures, the things that we need to motivate and understand policy in the ocean environment for both research, commercial activity, and a national defense scenario as well.”

Through a previously announced project with Virginia-based defense contractor Adams Communications & Engineering Technology, OPT is part of a SLAMR concept project that would integrate OPT solutions into a maritime domain awareness system with several other public sector technology partners.

“The (NPS) is trying to help educate the national security community and industry about their relative match between emerging technologies, such as drones and unmanned surface vessels,” added Dr. Buettner. “(Using) modern commercial networking technologies, so we’re not creating a super-expensive one-offs for national security when we can rely on the expertise of our industry to create low-cost commercial solutions that can enhance awareness, not just for national security, but for a variety of purposes.”

Listen to FNN’s conversation with George Kirby and Dr. Ray Buettner