New research partnership formed to investigate illegal fishing in North Pacific

Date: September 18, 2018

Source: Undercurrent News

Japan’s Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA) will help Global Fishing Watch and the Australian National Center for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong, in New South Wales, with their investigation of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

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Following a memorandum of understanding signed on Sept. 3, the groups have agreed to share “relevant open public data and analytical methodologies, including vessel movement data, catch data and satellite imagery; collaborate on relevant research activities, and publish research outcomes to advance international understanding on IUU fishing and its impacts,” according to a press release.

They intend to analyze night-time satellite imagery, the groups say, as squid jigging most often takes place at night, using bright overhead lights to attract the squid.

They will also study transshipment operations in the purse seine and ‘night light’ fishing fleets in the Pacific. Fishing boats and refrigerated cargo vessels meet at sea in order to transfer seafood, crew, fuel or supplies.

“Known as transshipment, the practice enables fishing boats to remain at sea fishing for months to years at a time while still getting their catch to market,” the press release explains.

FRA was formed in 2016 to maximize research and development outcomes for Japanese fisheries.

“This is a significant partnership, initiated by the FRA. By sharing skill-sets, using cutting edge technology and open data, we can better understand what is happening in waters important to Japan and to more sustainable fisheries in the region.” said Global Fishing Watch’s CEO, Tony Long.