Skip to main content

IUU Fisheries monitoring project with World Bank and ESA

A few days ago at the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris the World Bank and ESA signed an agreement on using information from Earth observation satellites in support of sustainable development. 

One of the ongoing projects within this framework (eoworld2, Earth Observation for development) is “Detection and Characterisation of Illegal, Unlicensed and Unreported (IUU) Fisheries Activity in West Africa” that is supporting the World Bank’s West Africa Regional Fisheries Program. The objective of this program is to strengthen the capacity of coastal states in West Africa to govern and manage targeted fisheries, reduce illegal fishing, and increase local value added to fish products. 

KSAT is project prime and coordinates the project with the support from the partners exactEarth Europe and Fisheries Analytical Capacity Tank (FACT). The fisheries authorities Liberia and Senegal has been the users with support from the World Bank. In the project KSAT has used Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from multiple satellites in a monitoring campaign over the area. The images has been analysed by KSAT analysts at TEOS in Tromsø and the vessel detections in the images has then been correlated with AIS reports from exactEarth (exactEarth Premium™), the Norwegian AISSat-1, AISSat-2 and NORAIS-2, and AIS data from ORBCOM/LuxSpace

In a satellite image it is possible to detect vessels independent of whether they are spoofing/disabling VMS/AIS messages to inhibit the identification and traffic if operating illegally. Thus the important contribution from Earth Observation demonstrated in this project is the vessel detection reports containing information about vessels detected in the SAR image with exact positions, estimation of size, heading and speed. The detections is correlated with data from the reporting systems (AIS) and non-reporting vessels are highlighted. In addition FACT has been aggregating the information with other available information to generate IUU intelligence reports providing information on IUU fishing hotspots and general statistics on the situation. 

The campaign has now finished and the final reports from this project will be available in early 2016.