Smart Ocean/Smart Industries: Collecting and Sharing Data

The World Ocean Council and the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation hosted a Smart Fishing Vessels Workshop as part of the WOC Smart Ocean/Smart Industries Initiative.

St. John’s, Newfoundland, CA
29 September 2013

Click here for the WOC/CCFI Smart Fishing Vessels Workshop Report.


Leslie-Ann McGee, World Ocean Council
Global program for facilitating and coordinating efforts to scale-up data collection and sharing by diverse ocean users, e.g. fisheries, shipping, oil/gas, offshore renewables, aquaculture and others.

Bob Verge, Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation
The reality and key challenges and experience of data collection from fishing vessels.

WOC Members have identified the need and opportunity for WOC to develop and coordinate a program or “platform” to expand, improve and better coordinate the role of industry in collecting and sharing ocean and atmospheric data. The “Smart Ocean/Smart Industries” program will learn from/build on existing ships of opportunity efforts and create a program to engage a range of industries in ocean observations at a whole new scale, i.e. fleets of vessels and offshore platforms participating in long term, integrated data collection. Industry efforts in this area are welcomed and encouraged by ocean stakeholders.

WOC has had discussions with a number of companies (primarily oil/gas, shipping, marine technology, insurance) and national ocean observation programs (e.g. in the US, EU and Australia), all of whom support and encourage this initiative. WOC met several times with the head of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), which is collaborating with WOC to engage the private sector in this area of mutual interest. IOC programs provide an opportunity for international collaboration and developing globally agreed data on issues important to ocean industries and linkages with national government ocean science programs.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) coordinates the marine atmospheric observation systems. IOC and WMO collaborate in the Joint Committee on Marine Meteorology (JCOMM), which has a program to develop and coordinate the “ships of opportunities”. WOC participated in the 2-yearly meeting of the JCOMM Ship Observations Team (SOT) (April, 2011) to outline the potential for the WOC program area and build the relationships with the key national and international agencies and individuals in the scientific/ocean observations community.

A WOC working group (WG) has been formed and is co-chaired by Maersk and Marinexplore. IOC hosted an initial WOC workshop (Unesco, Paris, 12-13 December 2011) to begin designing the Platform structure and process and to develop the roadmap for moving forward.

WOC’s Sustainable Ocean Summit 2013 included a major session on “Smart Ocean/Smart Industries”.


Increased industry participation in improving ocean and atmospheric understanding – as measured by the number of companies involved in observation programs.
Expanded ocean databases – as measured by increased input of industry data under appropriate conditions.
Improved understanding of the oceans and more predictable ocean operating environment for responsible ocean use – as measured by increased science outputs and use of science for safe, responsible industry operations and marine ecosystem management.



  • Participate in WMO/IOC JCOMM Ship Observations Team (SOT), April, 2011
    – Status: Done
  • Develop concept paper on the WOC “Smart Ocean/Smart Industries” program
    – Status: Done
  • Identify WOC WG co-chairs
    – Status: Done
  • Organize and hold initial workshop in Dec
    – Status: Done


  • Identify and engage key partners in intergovernmental and government programs
    – Status: Done
  • Develop workplan
    – Status: Moved to 2013
  • Develop joint industry/science committee for “Smart Ocean/Smart Industries”
    – Status: Begun in 2012


  • Develop joint industry/science committee for “Smart Ocean/Smart Industries”
    – Status: Underway
  • Develop workplan and identify pilot areas
    – Status: Underway