Australia narrows the net on illegal fishing

Australia’s national research organization CSIRO has developed a world first notification system that alerts authorities when vessels undertaking illegal fishing arrive in port.

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

Funded through a $3.6 million philanthropic grant from Vulcan, a US philanthropic foundation set up by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, it aims to narrow the net for maritime authorities by profiling vessels behaving suspiciously.

The Atlantic Ocean along the African west coast is, by reputation, the world’s richest. It is also among the least policed. According to a recent study in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, illegal, unreported and unregulated [IUU] fishing costs cash-strapped local countries more than $2 billion a year.