Sea Drone to Patrol World’s Largest Marine Reserve

There is no doubt that policing 834,000 square kilometers of sea is no easy task. It could be about to get a lot harder for illegal fishermen to slip through undetected thanks to a new two-part ocean-going drone that will patrol the around the Pitcairn Islands in the Pacific that are designated as no-fishing zones.

Created by Liquid Robotics, the drone known as the Wave Glider will be operated by staff at a satellite watch room which monitors the activities of fishing vessels. Wave Glider will be able to take images of vessels that are within the restricted zones as well as pinpoint their location via the use of satellites. This drone is, made of two parts, consisting of a small boat that carries the required monitoring instruments and a separate submersible craft that is attached by a tether. The two-part setup allows the craft to be propelled along by the differential motion between the sea’s surface and the depth of the submersible, which combined with its solar panels allows the craft to stay at sea for months at a time without needing to be recharged.

The zone that the Wave Glider will be patrolling was established as a protected region by the UK in 2015 and created a watchdog foundation to protect the 1,200 species of fish, marine mammals and birds present in the region, some of which are entirely unique. This new drone, which entered service late last month should make it easier to protect these countless species and show that drones can be used for good.

Image credit to Liquid Robotics