Australia develops notification system to close the net on IUU fishing

Published on
June 26, 2017
Illegal fishing

A notification system that alerts authorities when fishing vessels that are believed to be operating illegally arrive in port is being developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Australia’s national science agency explained that the web-based reporting tool identifies and ranks vessels across the globe based on a list of behaviors associated with illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. It uses data collected by satellites to monitor and report vessels behaving suspiciously.

"Almost all vessels are equipped with anti-collision devices that can be detected by satellites," Chris Wilcox, CSIRO senior scientist and co-designer of the platform, said. "Using data from these systems, we can shine a spotlight on vessels acting suspiciously based on factors including the vessel's history, movement and whether its transmitter has been intentionally disabled.”

Countries will be able to sign-up to receive notifications, or directly access the portal to search for vessels and then be provided with a report highlighting the suspicious behaviors involved.

The project is part of a collaboration with Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and his U.S.-based company, Vulcan Inc.

The new platform will be officially launched in October with a number of national and international surveillance agencies showing strong interest, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation funded Global Fishing Watch.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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