Chinese shipbuilding giant secures patent on IUU tech

Published on
April 21, 2021

A Chinese shipbuilding firm has secured an international patent for a mechanism to identify and trace illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

CSIC Pride (Nanjing) Atmospheric and Oceanic Information System Co has been granted a patent for a multifunctional ship-based radar for illegal fishing-behavior discrimination, which can detect vessels fishing illegally in a set area of water.

The inventor is a subsidiary of the state-owned CSIC shipbuilding firm, one of the world’s biggest. Its invention is listed in the database of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). SeafoodSource did not receive a response for comment from the firm, which also builds fishing vessels.

The use of patents needs to be increased in the pursuit of solutions to illegal fishing, according to Carlos Mazal, director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the WIPO, a U.N. agency, and previously the executive director of the Latin American Organization for Fisheries Development (OLDEPESCA).

“I did a simple search on Patentscope and typed ‘illegal fishing’ and found 76 new filed or approved patented technologies,” Mazal said. “Just on IUU fishing, I found two in ten seconds by typing ‘illegal fishing,’ but there are many more,” he told SeafoodSource.

Mazal said he would like to see WIPO members to put together a patent landscape report to provide study the availability and functionality on patents related to illegal fishing “to inform policy discussions, strategic research planning, or technology transfer.”

Other patents on the WIPO database related to illegal fishing include a vessel monitoring system that allows authorities to communicate with fishing vessels to ascertain if they have authorization to fish, and an invention that uses low-earth orbital satellites to search and track vessels in open seas.

Mazal said regional fisheries management organizations must lead in the fight against IUU, using strong enforcement tools such as on-board observers and the empowerment of infringement review boards. RFMOs need to “face up to the four or five countries which have [large] distant[-water] fleets like China, Spain, Taiwan, South Korea, [and] Russia,” Mazal said.

Photo courtesy of Isuaneye/Shutterstock

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