Vodacom and WWF Test AI to Protect Marine Mammals


  • Vodacom & WWF partner to use AI in Saldanha Bay to protect marine mammals from mussel farm entanglements.
  • Digital tools aid sustainable seafood choices & educate the next generation for ocean conservation.
  • Innovative tech safeguards whales and gathers vital scientific data, offering hope for marine ecosystem protection.


In an innovative partnership aimed at safeguarding marine mammals, Vodacom South Africa and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa have initiated a groundbreaking pilot project. This project, located in Saldanha Bay on South Africa’s West Coast, seeks to address the challenges faced by traditional fishing communities grappling with the consequences of overfishing, pollution, and climate change. 

Rethinking mussel farming

In the quest for sustainable solutions, the partners have introduced a unique offshore, rope-grown mussel farming method. This approach not only provides a low-impact, protein-rich source of seafood but also contributes to employment opportunities and economic development. However, as with any endeavor, challenges arise, and in this case, there is a notable risk: marine mammals, including whales, becoming entangled in the farming ropes.

Leveraging technology to protect marine life

Vodacom, in collaboration with WWF South Africa, has turned to technology to address this pressing issue. They are utilizing cameras and hydrophones strategically placed to monitor the waters of the Saldanha Bay Aquaculture Development Zone (SBADZ). These devices serve as an early warning system, alerting mussel farmers to the presence of whales in the vicinity and enabling the activation of the ADZ Incident and Emergency Response Protocol in the event of entanglement.

Whales, as emphasized by WWF, play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health of marine environments, aiding in the capture of carbon from the atmosphere. It is estimated that each great whale sequesters an average of 33 tons of CO2. However, despite decades of protection efforts, six out of the 13 great whale species are classified as endangered or vulnerable.

Beyond Whale protection to gathering scientific data

The early warning system’s benefits extend beyond protecting whales. It also serves as a valuable tool for gathering scientific data on the movement of marine life in the region. This data could prove invaluable in preventing ship collisions with other marine creatures, such as seals and dolphins. 

Once the pilot project in Saldanha Bay is successfully concluded, there is potential for the solution to be expanded to other coastal areas and fisheries, offering broader protection for marine ecosystems and wildlife.

Digital tools for Sustainable Seafood

This collaboration between Vodacom and WWF South Africa goes beyond marine mammal protection. Together, they are developing digital tools to support the WWF Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (WWF-SASSI). This initiative is dedicated to fostering conservation by promoting the consumption of sustainable seafood and educating individuals about the ocean’s importance.

One such tool is the WWF-SASSI Fish ID digital platform, designed to assist consumers and seafood industry professionals in making informed choices about seafood products. This platform includes farmed mussels on the SASSI green list, indicating their sustainability.

Educating the next generation

In addition to these digital initiatives, the partners are committed to educating future generations about the importance of ocean conservation. They have extended their efforts by including an Early Childhood Development center and Secondary School in Saldanha Bay as part of Vodacom’s education ecosystem. This approach aims to instill environmental consciousness in young minds and prepare them to be stewards of our oceans.

Pavitray Pillay, WWF-SASSI Manager, WWF South Africa, comments

Pavitray Pillay, WWF-SASSI Manager at WWF South Africa, expressed enthusiasm for the project’s potential impact, stating, “Rope-grown mussels are a fantastic source of sustainable seafood. All efforts to ensure that this industry remains on our WWF-SASSI green list are to be welcomed. We are delighted that Vodacom has chosen to put the time, efforts, and resources into this pilot project, which has great potential to scale elsewhere in other Aquaculture Development Zones around the coast.”

In an era where technological innovation is essential for addressing environmental challenges, the collaboration between Vodacom and WWF South Africa serves as a beacon of hope. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and digital tools, they are not only protecting marine life but also educating and inspiring the next generation to be environmental stewards. As this pilot project expands and evolves, its impact could extend far beyond Saldanha Bay, offering a blueprint for safeguarding our oceans and the creatures that call them home.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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John Palmer

John Palmer is an enthusiastic crypto writer with an interest in Bitcoin, Blockchain, and technical analysis. With a focus on daily market analysis, his research helps traders and investors alike. His particular interest in digital wallets and blockchain aids his audience.

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