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Moratai ©-Alex-Westover-for-Ocean-Eye
Moratai © Alex Westover for Ocean-Eye

Ocean Eye – incentivising conservation through biodiversity-linked micropayments

Ocean Eye – incentivising conservation through biodiversity-linked micropayments

Project Lead: Ocean Eye Inc. 
Financial Support:  The Government of Canada 
Location: Indonesia
Project Timeline: Ongoing (2024-2025) 

Summary 

Ocean Eye is a unique platform that conserves marine biodiversity by collecting data and financial payments for wildlife sightings. The platform enables marine tourists such as scuba divers, cruise, or resort clients to report animal sightings and make micro payments that benefit coastal communities. As a result, these payments incentivise locals to protect endangered or vulnerable species and ecosystems. By connecting the tourism industry further with conservation driven profits, Ocean Eye will build more sustainable and regenerative livelihood options, influencing good fishing practices. 

Projected Impact
With ORRAA’s support through the Government of Canada, Ocean Eye will scale its platform towards vulnerable and biodiversity rich coastal areas globally, with an initial focus on the coral triangle area in Indonesia. This project aims to:  

– Leverage USD $200,000 of investment 
– Grow 8,000 users  

Challenge 

As overfishing, coastal pollution and climate change drain ocean productivity, coastal communities increasingly struggle to maintain their livelihoods or find alternative streams of income to fishing and hunting. Yet, these income streams drive marine biodiversity and habitat loss while reducing the value of related ecosystem services such as tourism. In parallel, efforts supporting marine management and conservation work are often ineffective when there is minimal stakeholder support and a lack of funds for monitoring and enforcement. 

© Paul Hilton
Solution

Ocean Eye’s platform provides economic incentives for coastal communities to conserve marine biodiversity. The platform collects tourism led marine wildlife sighting data and transfers ecosystem service payments. The animal sighting reports are directly linked to micro payments from tourists that go to coastal communities, creating motivation and incentives to protect endangered and vulnerable species. Alternatively, funds can also support already effective local projects that support coastal communities. 

Scaling and Next Steps

With support from ORRAA through the Government of Canada, Ocean Eye will expand its work with a key focus on biodiversity rich hotspots in coastal tropical areas as well as Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The first project implementation sites will take place in Indonesia, specifically North Bali, the Banda Islands as well as the Maluku and Papua provinces in Eastern Indonesia.  

Additionally, Ocean Eye will pilot a biodiversity/nature credits approach for the use of their platform as a monitoring and financial transfer mechanism, with the goal of bringing more varied reward-based income streams for target communities. 

‘Ocean Eye is one of the most promising innovations in a long-time that can help bring solutions to critical issues of marine wildlife capture and trade from shark finning to unsustainable hunting of all marine species’Paul Hilton – Conservation Photojournalist