Commercial fishing is an industry that pulls more than just tuna and sardines out of the oceans and seas. A significant part of fish brought to the surface by fishing nets is bycatch. This means anything outside the target species intended by fishing companies- whales, dolphins, turtles, and even birds. Now, a raw and emotional wrecking WebAR experience wants to show consumers what really happens during a regular day of commercial fishing.
Below the Surface AR – Showing the Unvarnished Truth About Bycatch
The stark reality is that up to 40% of catches made by fishing ships are bycatch. The fish and sea mammals caught by error are simply dumped back in the ocean. By this time, they are already dead or dying.
For environmental non-profit Sea Shepherd this situation is not acceptable. Thus, they decided to raise awareness among consumers about what really bycatch means. In partnership with immersive experience studio Resn, they created a first-person augmented reality mobile experience that shows what happens during a day at work on a commercial fishing ship.
An Augmented Reality Mobile Experience That Raises Alarm
According to the information provided in the WebAR experience, only last year, 11,000 dolphins were killed as bycatch along the coast of France. At this rate, the species would disappear in about 20 years. Both Resh and Sea Shepherd are trying to raise the alarm and stop this from happening.
Once they launch Below the Surface AR, users should allow the web app to access the back camera of their phone. Next, an interactive virtual Earth appears on the screen. The viewers can zoom in until they reach below the ocean surface. Here, they will see a dolphin caught in a fishing net, struggling to escape.
You can experience Below the Surface AR through a web browser on most mobile phones. The Creative Director of Resn, Simon Julien, explained the choice of a WebAR experience to convey the message:
“We’re using AR to transpose the ocean’s reality to your own. We made it browser-based so there’s nothing to download. Unlike a native app, which can leverage existing AR platforms, we developed our own AR approach that could be used in a browser.”
A Personal Project for Resn
Personal convictions are what encouraged Resn to embark on this AR project. “Our goal is to shine a light on what bycatch really is: the systematic extermination of sea life. It’s the fishing industry’s dirty little secret and, for some reason, it’s all perfectly legal,” said Global Managing Director of Resn studio, Rik Campbell.
You can experience Below the Surface AR on your mobile phone at this link: https://belowthesurface.resn.co.nz/. From within the experience, you can also donate to Sea Shepherd “to end the slaughter of dolphins”.