Kelp forests form the foundation of the world’s most productive fisheries and are in decline due to the overfishing of predators, global warming, and frequent severe storm events. Healthy kelp forest lead to healthy oceans, which provide up to 70% of the Earth's oxygen.
Government marine habitat conservation program and corporate seaweed sourcing managers must uphold two conflicting mandates. The first mandate is to deploy and keep predators in sensitive fishery ecosystems to suppress herbivore populations at healthy and sustainable levels. The absence of natural predators like the sheepshead fish, lobsters, and crabs cause the predator/prey ratio to fall out of balance.
This imbalance favor grazers (e.g., urchins) that consume all available plant biomass resulting in urchin barrens. In the worse cases, urchin barrens are devoid of all plant and animal life except for the malnourished and atrophied grazers. Urchin barrens have been documented over 3.3M acres in the ocean.
The second mandate is to allow fishers to earn a living by hunting natural ocean predators. Unfortunately, managers are struggling to uphold both of these competing commitments. Providing predators when and where they are needed is how Marauder Robotics technologies show up and support marine conservation and kelp sourcing managers.
Marauder Robotics primary purpose is to develop marine technology that enables better ocean stewards. Our initial focus is to restore and maintain balance in ocean ecosystems that have been compromised by overfishing of natural predators. We are building and deploying efficient and cost-effective alternatives to disappearing natural predators that suppress prey populations to sustainable levels. We are currently developing an artificially intelligent and tunable autonomous underwater predator to augment disappearing natural predators. We have talked with stakeholders on multiple continents where urchin overpopulation is a problem, and are currently discussing where our initial pilot deployment will occur. To understand the severity in one of these locations, predator-prey imbalances have led to urchin barrens, and pose a threat to a $150M lobster and abalone market, and an overall $10B related regional maritime economy.