Now sci­ence will tackle il­le­gal fish­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS DOUGLAS SHIRE BUDGET 2017 -

SCI­ENCE is join­ing the fight against il­le­gal fish­ing, with CSIRO de­vel­op­ing a world first no­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem that alerts author­i­ties when of­fend­ing ves­sels ar­rive in port.

The web-based re­port­ing tool iden­ti­fies and ranks ves­sels across the globe based on a list of be­hav­iours as­so­ci­ated with il­le­gal, un­reg­u­lated and un­re­ported (IUU) fish­ing.

CSIRO se­nior sci­en­tist and co-de­signer of the plat­form Dr Chris Wil­cox said the tool used data col­lected by satel­lites to mon­i­tor and re­port sus­pi­ciously be­hav­ing ves­sels.

“Al­most all ves­sels are equipped with anti-col­li­sion de­vices that can be de­tected by satel­lites,” Dr Wil­cox said.

“Coun­tries that use this new tool will be able to re­verse the tide of il­le­gal fish­ing and help re­build de­pleted fish stocks.”

Il­le­gal fish­ing is the third most lu­cra­tive crime in the world, af­ter weapons traf­fick­ing and drug smug­gling.

It’s es­ti­mated there are 26 mil­lion tons of il­le­gal fish caught each year, worth about $US23 bil­lion.

It hap­pens in all parts of the world but is par­tic­u­larly prob­lem­atic in the de­vel­op­ing world where low ca­pac­ity and fund­ing make it dif­fi­cult to fight. One third of fish take in US and Aus­tralian mar­kets ap­pears to be il­le­gal.

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