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News

Radar surveillance protects oyster beds

Kelvin Hughes : 21 February, 2014  (Application Story)
Police protecting natural resources in Maryland have deployed SharpEye surveillance radars for watch over oyster beds in the region
Radar surveillance protects oyster beds

Kelvin Hughes has recently supplied two SharpEye Solid State X Band surveillance radars to the Maryland Natural Resources Police (MPRP), to provide additional coverage around protected oyster beds.

The SharpEye radars are key sensors in the MNRP Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network (MLEIN), whose mission is to secure the 3,100 miles of Maryland coastline. The system was launched in the autumn of 2013, with the first detection of illegal activity taking place shortly after. The two X Band radars provide high resolution radar pictures 24 hours a day in all weather conditions, and these images are transmitted to officers in the field in real time. The information is shared with other government and law enforcement agencies, to assist in detecting illegal activities or help with search and rescue operations on the water.

The solid state radars are ideal for the MNRP’s application as they enable the detection of small, low radar cross section targets, such as the boats typically used by oyster poachers. One such incident occurred in Tangier Sound, with two poachers apprehended by an officer watching his laptop as the cameras and radar units of the MLEIN tracked the watermen.

Officer John Bromley of the MNRP said: “MLEIN was a definite asset on the water and enhanced our ability to respond to the situation. It was like having an extra pair of eyes on the patrol boat.”

Other benefits that led to the MNRP’s selection of SharpEye include enhanced detection of small targets in heavy rain and high sea states; and the advanced detection in poor conditions allowed by the patented pulse sequence and Doppler processing.

Adrian Pilbeam, Vice President of Kelvin Hughes LLC said, “SharpEye radars provide MNRP with reliable, low maintenance surface search radar. Detection of small targets was critical in the selection of the radar, which already has assisted MNRP in successfully intercepting illegal activity.”

Enhanced enforcement is one of the goals under Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s 10-point Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan. In 2011, he signed a sweeping law that included stricter penalties for both egregious first-time and serial offenders. The SharpEyeTM radars ensure the poachers have nowhere to hide.

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