Illegal Fishing Part II– How Ocean Science And Technology Can Address IUU Fishing And Secure National, Economic, And Food Security Worldwide

2018-02-01T10:57:43+00:00 September 26, 2017|

Global Fishing Watch uses data and open technologies to help save the ocean by showing, for free, exactly where all of the trackable commercial fishing activity has happened since 2012 and is happening today in near-real time. Below is part two of a guest blog series by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership’s President and CEO RADM Jonathan White (Ret.). Read part one here.

(From GlobalFishingWatch/ by Jon White) — We’ve figured out how to monitor cattle from space. More than just inspecting the land (observing changes in growth and condition), satellites can actually track individual cows. That’s certainly valuable to ranchers today, but consider how it could have prevented cattle rustling in years past. Now, think about transferring that potential to the ocean and using those capabilities to map individual fish movements and changing ocean conditions (observing changes in growth, condition, and diversity of marine ecosystems), as well as IUU fishing.  While we’re not quite there yet, the idea is fascinating and, I believe, not far away. One of the challenges associated with combatting IUU fishing is finding the fish before pirate fishers do to enable better, targeted monitoring and enforcement. Without an idea of where they are, you’re looking for a needle in a haystack – or, more accurately, a tuna in 140 million square miles of ocean.

Remote sensing from space is one way we can use technology for ocean observations and to collect data on fisheries (as well as ocean processes), but there are many more. Ongoing rapid advances in ocean science and technology enable us to increase ocean monitoring significantly and at relatively low cost. We can, and should, be gathering data from the air, space, and water (ships, boats, buoys, unmanned autonomous vehicles, gliders, oil rigs, and many other ocean platforms). Imagine what we could learn with such an increase in ocean data. But don’t stop there – now imagine if each ocean sensor, no matter its purpose, could serve a secondary IUU fishing enforcement mission. Whether through original sensors or by incorporating surveillance technologies, increased data collection will enhance maritime domain awareness, informing scientists and law enforcement agents to fishery locations so they can head off illegal fishing activity – improving management, monitoring, and enforcement. This will give them the needed head start to prevent illicit activity before it begins and to enable the collection of evidence necessary to prosecute offenders.

Through finding, monitoring, and protecting prime stocks, ocean science and technology can help address the global scourge of IUU fishing. But ocean science and technology can also empower the average citizen to aid in lessening IUU fishing. One means is through traceability, or knowing where your seafood comes from. When you pick up fish at the grocery store, often you have no way of knowing if it is what it says it is, where it came from, and how it was caught. Innovative programs like Global Fishing Watch can help answer the where and how by revealing the path a fishing vessel took from one port to another and identifying where and when it fished. But the supply chain does not end at the dock…

Read the full article here: