Namibia is taking its fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing a notch higher by planning to develop and use unmanned aerial vehicles in the detection and prevention of IUU, according to a New Era report.
An ongoing study is exploring the viability of deploying drones in monitoring, control, and surveillance activities aimed at combating IUU within Namibia’s exclusive economic zone. The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources said drones may be able to identify those engaged in IUU and collect data including the GPS position of those involved, as wella s the date, time, and type of illegal activity being conducted, the ministry said.
However, before the ministry makes a final decision on whether to use drones, it will collect additional data on issues such as “the usefulness of the pictures taken by the drones and the ability to detect IUU fishing activities at night," it said in a statement.
“With respect to IUU, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is investigating the usefulness of drones in improving our operations,” the ministry said. “For instance, if a patrol craft (vehicle or patrol vessel) is in the vicinity of where a drone detects IUU fishing activity, the craft can be directed there to further investigate and take appropriate action.”
The ministry said even if there is no patrol craft in the vicinity, “a drone would only be useful if it can produce credible evidence that can be accepted in courts.”
Namibia, which has more than 500,000 square kilometers within its EEZ and a 1,500-kilometer coastline, has previously signed several agreements in support of the global war against IUU, including ratification of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Compliance Agreement, U.N. Fish Stocks Agreement, and U.N. Port State Measures Agreement.
Moreover, Namibia has previously adopted National Plans of Action to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (NPOA-IUU) in line with its 200 Marine Resources Act.
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