Satellite support for Chile in the fight against illegal fishing

11 Sep 2017
OceanMind used AIS and VMS to check for abnormal or suspicious behaviour

OceanMind used AIS and VMS to check for abnormal or suspicious behaviour

Chile has been garnering some much-needed support in its fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing courtesy of a satellite data project.

Working in partnership with the Department of the Navy (DIRECTEMAR) at its headquarters in Valparaiso, Chile, OceanMind, has been using its advanced maritime observation system to help the prioritisation of Chilean air and sea patrols in their fishing enforcement efforts.

“One of the most significant identified threats to the Chilean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) comes from foreign flagged fishing vessels that frequently fish inside Chile’s boundary,” said Bradley Soule, chief fisheries analyst, OceanMind.

“Using satellite data, a large number of questionable occurrences were identified, of which 70% were potentially attributed to fishing, carrier and bunker vessels that required further investigation from our expert fisheries analysts and Chilean authorities.”

OceanMind used Automatic Identification System data (AIS) and Vessel Monitoring System data (VMS), along with robust analysis by fisheries experts, to check for abnormal or suspicious behaviour in Chile’s waters.

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images taken from satellites were also used to identify any fishing vessels that had ‘gone dark’ by switching off, or tampering with, their tracking devices.

DIRECTEMAR verified OceanMind’s intelligence using an Offshore Patrol Vessel and dedicated aeroplane to assist with intercepting any potential illegal fishing vessels. Photographic evidence to confirm vessel identity was then obtained, along with a positional reference and time as evidence for any future enforcement.

This project falls under the auspices of the Satellite Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness for Chile (SEMDAC) contract, which was created to develop and trial a national Maritime Domain Awareness capability initially focussing on IUU fishing in Chilean waters.