Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site



The only vessel in the world capable of harvesting ghost fishing nets.


The SeaVax concept as a proof of concept model in 2016, first exhibited in the UK, in London. Since then the design has developed significantly. The Cleaner Ocean Foundation was part of a consortium of academics and high-tech companies that could tackle autonomous energy harvesting, navigation and fleet control, in relation to ocean cleaning. In 2019 a study of the energy required for such operations was undertaken by a masters degree student. As a result, the SeaVax will look a little different. The fishing net harvesting apparatus is not included on this model.





When fully developed, the SeaVax would have been capable of harvesting ghost fishing nets. As far as we know, the only system capable of doing so. These machines might have been used to help stop illegal poaching using driftnets and other devices that are set deliberately to get around the international whaling ban.


Since first showing in 2016, the SeaVax concept, via the Cleaner Ocean Foundation and others, was the subject of three applications for European funding under the Horizon 2020 scheme, the last in February of 2020. Being volunteer led, the dream team could only afford to sacrifice five years of their working lives, before being forced to disband, or face insolvency.


Brexit discrimination did not help. Partly explaining why the EC examiners got it so wrong, in determining the technology was already developed. They were actually looking at a 1:20 scale proof of concept model, that could not deal with fishing nets. And had no selective robotic filtration, to switch filter sizes for microplastic harvesting, and avoidance of fauna. The concept was totally undeveloped. The EC's historic blunder stands as an example of inappropriate policies for all to see. Which we hope they learn from.


In the intervening years, nothing else has been funded, and there is still no solution in 2024. A nine year development black hole - during which time hundreds of thousands of marine mammals and reptiles have been slowly drowned; tortured.


It speaks for itself that the EU is not serious about dealing with the deaths of thousands of endangered species, making the Commission, their policies and policy makers part of the problem - in that if you won't pursue viable solutions - then you are effectively condoning pirate operations and the deaths of thousands of whales from ghost nets. It is called 'Joint Enterprise.'


The United Nations' response is to attempt to tag fishing nets, but again no direct action - and again - that makes such organizations part of the problem.


That is why we believe it is time for a change in the law at international level. To make it illegal to fail to act with due diligence, to protect the planet and the most vulnerable of its inhabitants.




We are not alone in this belief. In April 2020 a Federal Judge ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service, were not doing enough to protect Right Whales from lobster gear entanglement.


The same could be said of the United NationsEuropean Union, G20 and just about every fishing nation. Where else are the nets coming from?






PERSISTENT MONITORING CE-FNR-09 Machines like the Pilot SeaVax concept above provide sufficient energy to sample the marine environment continuously, also able to transport the sensors and sampling equipment anywhere in the world without using fossil fuels. We applied for funding in 2017 to build a simpler version of this machine, and again in 2020 to build this prototype with more frills and whistles, but were turned down on both occasions.


The head of the proposed machine can be raised out of the water during transit, and lowered to 8 meters to sample microplastics on the seafloor or riverbeds. It is possible to design a head to travel to greater depths, but this will require additional R&D. Without funding it is just historical proof that the establishment don't give a fig.


Although we have shown this equipment as part of the Pilot concept, once completed, heads like this could have been fitted to other suitably equipped research vessels. Again, without funding it is just us showing the world what might have been.





PRESS RELEASE August 19, 2020

Judge Orders Deadline for New North Atlantic Right Whale Protections

WASHINGTON — As a result of a successful lawsuit by several environmental and animal organizations, a federal judge today ordered federal fishery managers to issue a new rule for critically endangered North Atlantic right whales no later than May 31, 2021.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife and the Humane Society of the United States sued the federal government for violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing the lobster fishery to operate in a manner known to entangle right whales.

U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg also ordered a new ESA-mandated analysis of the American lobster fishery that takes into account the full scope of its harm to right whales. He stopped short of prohibiting lobster fishing with vertical buoy lines in a key right whale feeding area, which the groups had requested as an interim measure.

“The survival of the species cannot wait for endless debate on new protections,” said Erica Fuller, senior attorney at CLF. “The judge made it clear that the federal government needs to go back to the drawing board and meaningfully address all of the impacts of the lobster fishery on right whales. Today’s ruling will put a stop to the government’s endless foot-dragging on implementing new long-term protections.”

“The judge has given the agency clear marching orders, and there’s no more time to waste. The National Marine Fisheries Service must respond quickly with strong new regulations that prevent right whale entanglements,” said Kristen Monsell, the Center for Biological Diversity attorney who argued the case in court earlier this month. “This amazing species can’t withstand more harmful entanglements in lobster gear.”

In April, the judge agreed with the groups’ argument that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Endangered Species Act when it authorized the American lobster fishery without appropriately analyzing its impact on right whales and issuing the legally required permit.

“Vessel strikes and entanglements have killed over 40 imperiled right whales over the past four years, while the federal government has sat on its hands,” said Jane Davenport, senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife. “This order puts an end to that inaction, demanding that the government implement new protections that will help the right whale come back from the brink of extinction.”

“With right whales teetering on the brink of extinction, National Marine Fisheries Service has done little more than wring its hands without taking decisive action to reduce the unsustainable number of right whale deaths resulting from entanglements in the lobster fishery,” said Sharon Young, senior strategist for marine issues at the Humane Society of the United States. “Finally the agency’s feet are held to the fire so right whales can get additional protections they desperately need.”

There are only about 400 North Atlantic right whales remaining, and at least 40 of them have been killed since the summer of 2017. Entanglements in heavy fishing gear, which is used in the American lobster fishery, are a major threat to their survival. In July 2020, the International Union for Conservation of Nature uplisted the North Atlantic right whale’s status to “critically endangered,” just one step below extinct.



Kristen Monsell, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 844-7137,


Jake O’Neill, Conservation Law Foundation, (978) 478-8318,


Jake Bleich, Defenders of Wildlife, (510) 882-1592,


Emily Ehrhorn, The Humane Society of the United States, 202-779-1814,




Center for Biological Diversity




Please use our A-Z INDEX to navigate this site



This website is Copyright © 2024 Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd