Copyright ©2017 Green Matters. All rights reserved.
Pixabay
How Google Is Working To Curb Illegal Fishing

Is that fish you’re eating coming from an illegal transaction in the high seas? With the United States importing around 90 percent of the seafood we eat, there’s a good chance of it happening. Illegal transshipment is responsible for over $23 billion in economic loss. It’s been hard to monitor in the past, but new technology could aid in stopping the process. 

Thanks to a collaboration by Google, Oceana, and SkyTruth, anyone has the power to view where ships are located. This works in part because many boats need to have an identification system to avoid crashing into each other. Then, GPS systems are able to track the activity of these vessels, suggesting that with closer monitoring and more accountability, less illegal trade will happen.

Transshipment itself isn’t illegal. It happens when a fishing boat transfers its supply over to a reefer and eliminates the process of docking the boat on land. Since catching fish is both competitive and lengthy, these vessels would rather spend more time out in the waters than having to find a place to unload their cargo.

Problems arise, however, when some of this fishing is manipulated. There are laws that try to prevent people from using equipment that could give them an unfair advantage or allow them to fish where they shouldn’t be. Not only could this harm habitat for the fish, but it strongly affects the supply chain and the seafood economy. Without proper monitoring, billions of dollars have been lost due to illegal activity.

It’s also been linked to more crimes, such as slavery and human trafficking. A study from New York University back in April looked into 17 regulation facilities, called Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO). They discovered only one of them issued a full ban on the practice while five handed out partial bans. 

Ultimately, a conclusion reached by the authors was to ban transshipping entirely: "A total ban on transshipment at-sea on the high seas would support the ability of oversight and enforcement agencies to detect and prevent illegal fishing and also likely reduce human trafficking and forced labor on the high seas.”

Organizations have been working on projects to help monitor the waters and halt this practice. Global Fishing Watch is among the biggest and most convenient.

Global Fishing Watch

Results have been very promising for the technology as it recorded over 91,000 possible transshipments between 2012 and 2016. SkyTruth, a company that uses satellite imagery and remote sensing data to identify environmental issues, received help from Google’s technology in the process. Oceana chipped in with the Automatic Identification System (AIS).

John Amos, founder of SkyTruth, noted that it was stunning to see the results of the system, saying, "As we worked with the data, we realized we could tell in many cases what a vessel was up to based on way the vessels were moving on the water. It didn’t really hit home until we put their AIS data broadcast on a map."

The only caveat is these AIS systems aren’t always reliable. They can be turned off, but that would send red flags indicating they are participating in illegal activity. That would end up with an investigation. A bigger issue is the signal can malfunction or it could be turned off as a tactic to avoid competition finding hotspots.

Should transshipment be banned altogether? It’s up for debate, but it definitely needs to be regulated more than it is. As technology with the Global Fishing Watch advances, there should be even better results on illegal activity being thwarted.

News'Source' Makes Fresh Drinking Water Out Of Thin Air

An Arizona startup has created Source, a hydropanel system that's able to extract water from the air. It's able to convert what's acquired into fresh, drinkable water in a wide variety of climates, making it a great alternative source in rural areas.

5 days ago
NewsThis Compact Car Runs On Hydrogen And Emits Just Water

Electric vehicles with battery power are getting most of the attention, but hydrogen fuel cells are catching up. One car manufacturer in Wales spent 15 years developing a lightweight version with comparable range and fueling speed to ICEs.

6 days ago
NewsMicrosoft Plans To Cut 75 Percent Of Carbon Emissions By 2030

Microsoft is joining the likes of other major tech corporations and have made a pledge to cut three-fourths of their carbon emissions by 2030. They'll accomplish this feat by pursuing more renewable energy sources and working further with cloud technology.

6 days ago
NewsUPS Makes Plans To Convert Delivery Trucks In NYC To Electric

UPS is helping out New York's efforts to reduce 40 percent of carbon emissions by 2030 by electrifying two-thirds of their delivery truck fleet in NYC. They'll be working with a locally-based company to develop a streamlined way to convert their trucks.

6 days ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our daily newsletter
Quantcast