Oceans and coral reefs are the backbone of a multitude of ecosystems and for human livelihood.
Unfortunately, we have already lost or severely damaged more than 50% of coral reefs and 85% of oyster beds worldwide. Studies estimate nearly all reefs will be at risk by 2050 unless action is taken now to reduce the threats. These alarming projections are increasingly becoming a major challenge in many parts of the world.
We aim to change that.
We have all heard of precision agriculture, our aim is to develop precision aquaculture that incurs the lowest impact on surroundings. Certification programs today rely on annual in-person audits that is only affordable by a limited number of larger farms, which also has been difficult to conduct due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. While certification programs are moving to supplement audits with more frequent farmer-submitted information, this too has been challenging due to the lack of incentives for sharing data. Reef Support brings together insights from the farm paired with knowledge from the eyes of the skies.
Each year, billions of pounds of trash and other pollutants enter the ocean. Where does this pollution come from and where does it go? Some of the debris ends up on our beaches, washed in with the waves and tides. Some debris sink, eaten by marine animals that mistake it for food, and some accumulate in ocean gyres. Despite the economic benefits of tourism, beach managers have grown increasingly resistant to continued resort development due to lack of clear predictive insights and planning strategies.
Healthy reefs act as natural barriers, protecting coastal cities, communities, and beaches from pounding ocean waves. Nearly 200 million people depend on coral reefs to protect them from storm surges and waves. Without coral reefs, many beaches and buildings would become vulnerable to wave action and storm damage. With more frequent and severe storms predicted as part of climate change, coastal protection services will become even more important in the future.
On the 23rd of April, students of TU Delft were invited to participate in the 2021 Hackathon organised by YES!Delft Students and work on a case of Reef Support.
These last few months have been really exciting for Reef Support.