#Fishing - Illegal fishing may have just got a little more difficult thanks to a new marine science project backed by Google that aims to map commercial fishing activity around the globe in near real time.
According to The Verge, the Global Fishing Watch system – launched at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia last week – uses satellite mapping data from SpaceQuest plugged into specialised software from SkyTruth that allows users to track the activity of thousands of fishing boats across the world's oceans.
Wired goes into greater detail on the revolutionary system, which employs complex algorithms to find the most likely patterns of behaviour, from movement to radio usage, that identify a boat as being engaged in fishing.
Using data from 2012 to 2013, the system filtered billions of AIS radio messages sent by over 100,000 ocean-going vessels down to some 25,000 boats that bore the strongest signs of fishing activity - and determined that over 3,000 of those were indeed fishing vessels.
Marine conservation group Oceana, which has led the Global Fishing Watch initiative, says that once the system is ready to handle live data, it will be able to track fishing fleets and individual ships to within a few days – allowing for law enforcement to act if potentially harmful activity is detected.
And the public at large will be able to view the maps in their web browsers, and contribute towards identifying the most likely culprits of illegal fishing.
Wired has much more on the story HERE.