Illegal fishing costs us over twenty billion dollars a year. Australia is one of the most affected countries. According to reports by the World Wildlife Fund, marine biodiversity has been on the decline since the seventies. Some fish species are reported to have lost almost three-quarters of their populations since then. There is also a continuous degeneration of marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, sea-grasses as well as mangrove environments.
The threat of illegal fishing
The ocean can sustainably provide for generations to come. It is a renewable resource. It contributes to food security and is a source of income for millions of households around the world. Fishing is a critical factor in economic development among coastal communities. The reported decline in ocean populations is driven by human activity including factors such as overfishing, the consequences of climate change and the destruction of natural marine habitats.
If left unchecked, illegal fishing can deplete global ocean populations. This will have irreversible effects on coastal communities and economies. It will also change the regeneration patterns of vital ocean ecosystems. Disturbing their natural balance creates even more chaos.
Fishing waters are a crucial resource for various nations. Depleting fish stocks can lead to regional conflicts, hunger, and joblessness within communities. In like manner, fishing beyond sustainable limits threatens numerous marine species with extinction. It could lead to food shortages among fishing communities in the future.
Some of the proposals in the study include controlling black market fishing, protecting the oceans ecosystems and natural habitats, and advocating for stricter carbon pollution regulation. The protection of critical marine habitats is essential. Stakeholders must advocate for more education and enforcement of fishing policies. This ensures fish stocks are managed more sustainably, and best practices are employed during fishing.
Using technology to enhance enforcement
One welcome move has come from the co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen. He contributed over forty million dollars to the development of tracking and monitoring technology to control unlicensed fishing. The new system, dubbed SkyLight, is being developed through Vulcan, a company Paul founded in 1986. It will employ advanced satellite imaging as well as cutting-edge data analytics to enable countries to deal with illegal commercial fishing within their territorial waters.
Numerous countries have more ocean real estate than their law enforcement agencies can adequately cover. The technology is already being tested in Palau in the Pacific as well as Gabon on the Atlantic front. It aims to provide real-time, accurate and actionable intelligence backed by technology. The platform combines satellite imagery, available shipping records and other asset information collected manually from docks and ports.
The system then employs machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to pinpoint illegal vessels accurately. Renowned scientists, as well as expert business analysts, back it. They provide advisory and overview of matters such as the management of fisheries, licensing, and enforcement of fishing policies.
SkyLight is expected to boost collaboration and information sharing efforts between the various regional governments. Countries will monitor the movement of fishing vessels well beyond their designated international waters. This allows them to stretch limited resources to cover previously unreachable areas and overcome enforcement challenges. Countries, such as Australia will pay a minimal maintenance fee to use the service. Paul has covered the initial setup cost as well as the first few countries on board.
It is important to ensure that our oceans retain the dynamics of their natural ecosystems and marine life. We can sustainably benefit from them without destroying them. Professionals like Andrew Charlton will tell you that sustainable business practices that respect the environment are a guarantee of future profitability.
Businesses that nurture their sources of livelihood are reported to make more for longer. Also, you can access Grace Lever Review to understand the importance of using technology to provide sustainable and scalable solutions to businesses and the community.