The deployment of gear to capture marine creatures ends up uselessly killing many of these innocent creatures unnecessarily. The problems are many including-

  •  severe weather
  •  snags beneath the surface
  • conflict with other gear
  • interaction with other vessels and, rarely,
  •  intentional discard when no other options are available.

Floating Guardian is a LoRaWAN based tracker that helps fishermen track their deployed ghost gear and offers intuitive solutions to all of the above mentioned problems.

The Solution

I plan to make an inflated buoy floating on the ocean surface and relaying location and deployment information about the ghost gear periodically to fishermen and authorities.

The node would be based on LoraWAN for long range and be powered by solar energy. It would be equipped with a downward facing camera module to detect marine species and paddles powered by motors to move about on the surface. 

Whenever, an invasive species is detected, an MQTT message is sent to the authorities. If bad weather is detected the fisherman is informed in time so that he can collect the gear. If an approaching vessel is detected the buoy estimates the trajectory of the vessel and drags the gear to safety. 

In this way, it solves all of the problems of ghost gear taht affect marine creatures.


The main controller would be the LoRAWAN based STM32 Helium development kit that is equipped with a Semtech chip that boasts a huge link budget useful to relay messages over long distances. It would run AWS FreeRTOS for true real-time feedback. 

After every five minutes, the GPS location of the gear if significantly different from the previous footprint is relayed to the cloud through a gateway at the fisherman`s end. The data is stored onto AWS DynamoDB from where a web service on NODERED fetches it and makes it accessible to the fisherman and teh authorities alike in a graphical way on a mobile app.

A solar panel along with a charger module powers the LiPo battery that powers the MCU, the sensors and the camera.

The camera clicks pictures from time to time and stores it on an SD card. Neural network based algorithms identify marine species and generate warnings in case something odd is detected.

To sense approaching vessels, SONAR is used. the trajectory is calculated and the fisherman is informed in time. Weather is logged with the onboard sensors on the MCU board and anomalies are reported.