Knowledge for Development

How to catch the overfishermen


Date: 10/03/2015


Big data could help protect stocks of tuna and swordfish that have fallen by 90% since the 1950s. Until now, efforts to stop illegal fishing have been more or less futile. The oceans are vast, and navies and coastguard patrols are small. However, it is now feasible to synthesize information from sources such as radio transponders and satellite observations, in order to track every ocean-going vessel that is, or might be, a fishing boat. Such data can show when a vessel is behaving suspiciously in a prohibited area. They can also link particular vessels with the receiving ships to which they transfer their catches for transport to market. However, this promising use of big data system will work only if governments enforce existing rules. (The Economist, 23/01/2015)

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