New tech tool to detect illegal seafood launched by Traffic, WWF, Hewlett Packard

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Charities Traffic and WWF have teamed up with international technology company Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to develop a new web-based tool aimed at identifying wild-caught and farmed seafood products that are being traded illegally.

Initially the brainchild of Traffic, the data analytics system, called DETECT-IT, has been launched to help businesses, NGOs, Customs officers, law enforcement and fisheries officials worldwide quickly search through fish trade data to uncover potential illegally supplies of products.

Allowing millions of trade records to be searched in seconds, DETECT-IT helps find discrepancies in reported trade data in both farmed and wild-caught products between countries and raises red flags where laundering or illegal trade may be occurring.

“Illegal fishing is hugely destructive to ocean ecosystems, communities and economies,” said Michele Kuruc, WWF’s vice president of ocean policy. “DETECT-IT is a new weapon in the global fight against the criminals pillaging our seas for their own personal gain.”

Kuruc said that the intention is not to stop with illegal fish and that as the system is tested and refined, the technology could be used to crack down on other highly-trafficked natural resources, including timber and wildlife.

Global estimates suggest that more than 30 percent of all fish is illegally caught and causes up to USD 36.4 billion (EUR 31 billion) in worldwide losses each year, Traffic said.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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