Shark feed: U.K. launches world’s largest underwater monitoring system

The United Kingdom will install the world’s largest network of underwater wildlife monitoring systems in 10 overseas territories in the next few months to measure the success of its ocean conservation efforts, the government said Friday.

A network of cameras on carbon fiber sticks will monitor more than 4 million square kilometers of ocean in the largest undertaking of its kind by any national government. The project will cost 2 million British pounds, or almost $3 million, and it will run for four years, the U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said.

“Literally every breath we take comes from the oceans. They’re the biggest habitat on our planet,” said Jessica Meeuwig, a professor of marine science at the University of Western Australia and a co-founder of Blue Abacus, an ocean fish monitoring company that will train people in the territories to collect the marine data. “Yet we know very little about our oceans, particularly as you move away from shallow coral reef systems into what I like to call the ‘big blue.'”

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