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Google Uses Anti-Poaching Technology To Curb Overfishing

Google Inc has allowed the free use of their Global Fishing Watch tool launched in collaboration with the conservation organizations SkyTruth and Oceana to expose illegal fishing activities.

Climate change scientists have recently coined a new term, Thermal Runaway. Climate change has many potential implications, but the scariest possibility 'Thermal Runaway' could intensify them all and could do so in a catastrophic way. Image obtained with thanks from Andy Tinkham on Flickr.
Image obtained with thanks from Andy Tinkham on Flickr.

This system is already capable of tracking more than 3,000 vessels equipped with automatic identification systems (AIS), and that number will increase as many more satellites are commissioned. Citizens will be able to view the trackable vessels as well.

According to The Next Digit:

Google’s free tool uses satellites to capture signals from the tracking devices compulsorily carried by large fishing vessels to avoid collisions at sea. Oceana’s vice president for US oceans Jackie Savitz said that the Global Fishing Watch system is still in development mode, and already prompted concerns about revealing secret fishing spots. However, it is also true that people can buy boats’ location data, already.

The ocean is one of the hardest places to monitor, which is why satellites are indispensable for catching poachers out at sea. However, small vessels are difficult to track because they are not required to carry an AIS.

The Next Digit added:

Meanwhile, a big challenge for the group is to track small vessels that involves itself in illegal fishing activities, as those vessels are not obliged to carry the AIS (Automatic Identification System) devices to avoid collisions. There is also a possibility, where large vessels with AIS can turn off their devices to avoid tracking, but Oceana hopes that the thousands of citizen monitors will force authorities to act on suspected vessels that comes to the port.

A small vessel that goes fishing illegally here and there may not sound like a major problem, but many of these little vessels spell trouble for the fishing industry and fish populations.

Overfishing is such a serious issue because it reduces fish populations, pushing them further to extinction. Extinction is not only bad for the ecosystem (which relies so heavily on fish to survive), but it is bad for the economy (i.e. the fishing industry will die because they won’t have anything left to fish).

Fishing has to be regulated so that fish populations can reproduce faster than they are being fished .

Source: The Next Digit.

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