Satellite watchers busted an illegal fishing vessel, and they’re coming for others around the world

Gus Lubin

The island nation of Kiribati suspected that Marshalls 203 had violated its recently created no-fishing zone, but it didn’t have sufficient proof. That’s where Global Fishing Watch came in.

The non-profit, created by sea conservation group Oceana, environmental satellite imaging non-profit SkyTruth, and Google, identifies fishing boats by analyzing Automatic Identification Signals (AIS). It analyzes the movement of vessels to predict when they are fishing.

In the case of Marshalls 203, it provided unmistakable imagery that showed the boat fishing in the protected zone.

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