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Surveillance technologies identify vessels and observe fishing activities. (Photo: The Pew Charitable Trusts)

Technology for Fisheries Monitoring and Surveillance

  (UNITED STATES, 2/27/2014)

Monitoring and surveillance of fisheries is a complex and challenging problem. Traditionally, ships and aircraft have been the mainstay of surveillance efforts, however, the use of satellites and other technologies by fisheries enforcement officials has increased in recent years.

As more technologies are utilized to improve global fisheries monitoring and surveillance methods, it is important to note that no single technology can track and expose all illegal fishing activity. Fisheries monitoring and surveillance systems therefore often require a suite of available technologies.

Technology for fisheries monitoring and surveillance. (Image Credit: The Pew Charitable Trusts)

This graphic above identifies several technologies that have emerged to assist authorities worldwide to improve information exchange and enforcement (to view a larger image click here). These technologies fall into two groups:

• Monitoring technologies collect information on fishing activities to verify that they are legal.
• Surveillance technologies identify vessels and observe fishing activities through sightings by inspection vessels, aircraft and other technical means.

The Pew Charitable Trusts illegal fishing project is working to ensure a sustainable future for our oceans by combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing around the world. (Photo Credit: The Pew Charitable Trusts)

Data gathered by monitoring technology are captured for recordkeeping and analysis by experts. Those data can be used with inspection and other surveillance data to prosecute fisheries crimes in national and international courts. The data can also provide the basis for risk-analysis reports and are crucial to developing inspection and surveillance strategies.

Ships  have been the mainstay of surveillance efforts, however, the use of satellites and other technologies by fisheries enforcement officials has increased in recent years.(Image Credit: The Pew Charitable Trusts)
No technology on its own is a complete solution to the problem. Each must be part of an overall system that includes trained personnel, infrastructure, and the backing of a strong legal regime.

About The Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.

The trusts are an independent nonprofit organization. Pew is a global research and public policy organization, still operated as an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organization dedicated to serving the public. Informed by the founders’ interest in research, practical knowledge and a robust democracy, its portfolio has grown over time to include public opinion research; arts and culture; and environmental, health, state and consumer policy initiatives.

Data gathered by monitoring technology are captured for recordkeeping and analysis by experts. (Photo Credit: Angelo Villagomez/Pew)

Pew illegal fishing project is working to ensure a sustainable future for our oceans by combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing around the world.

Pew seeks to dramatically reduce illegal fishing around the world by:

Monitoring and surveillance of fisheries is a complex and challenging problem.

• Urging fisheries managers and States that license vessels (flag States) to require that every commercial fishing vessel 20 meters (65 feet) or more in length, and all vessels that fish outside the EEZs of their flag States, obtain an International Maritime Organization number—a unique identifier that stays with each vessel from construction to scrapping. Fisheries managers and flag States should also mandate that vessels be fitted with an automatic tracking system. These measures would ensure that industrial fishing vessels would be treated like merchant ships, making it possible to easily identify, track, and locate them anywhere in the world.

• Improving information sharing, enforcement, and prosecution of fisheries crimes in countries with limited resources by facilitating better engagement of authorities, use of technology, training, and intelligence gathering.

• Cutting off port access for illegal fishers by pressing for the adoption and implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement in key countries and by regional fisheries management organizations.

• Strengthening controls in major market States such as the United States, the European Union, and Japan to keep illegally caught seafood off store shelves.

• Working to ensure that illegal fishing is recognized as criminal activity, so that the full force of the law can be brought to bear against those engaging in it.

Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts

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