There's a good chance that in the time it takes you to read this story, a crew of seafaring criminals has hauled stolen fish worth tens of thousands of dollars onto a boat. These illegal acts can take many forms: fishing without a license, violating a protected marine reserve, using banned gear, not reporting a catch, or breaking any number of other fisheries laws. Illegal fishing takes place on a grand scale every day, accounting for up to $23.5 billion in stolen seafood yearly— or about 1 in every 5 fish taken from our oceans.
Project Eyes on the Seas, a joint initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.K.-based Satellite Applications Catapult, combines satellite monitoring of the oceans with other information, such as fishing-vessel databases and oceanographic data, to help authorities detect suspicious fishing activity far more efficiently than has been possible in the past— often in near-real time.
Tony Long directs the ending illegal fishing project at The Pew Charitable Trusts. He wrote about Project Eyes on the Seas in The Huffington Post. Read his post, “Game Changer in Fight Against Illegal Fishing,” to learn more about the fight against illegal fishing.