Catapult and Pew Charitable Trusts Join Forces in Fight Against Illegal Fishing

To help eliminate a major global threat to healthy, sustainable fisheries, the UK-based Satellite Applications Catapult today announces it is partnering with the non-governmental organisation Pew Charitable Trusts to capture and analyse satellite imagery to detect, track and prosecute illegal fishers.

Experts estimate that illegal and unreported fishing accounts for 1-in-5 marine fish caught today, totalling up to 26 million metric tons of fish annually, worth up to $23.5 billion. That equates to more than 1,800 pounds of wild-caught fish stolen from our seas every second.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said, “This partnership will give the people charged with protecting the world’s fisheries a front-row view of what is actually happening on our waters. Currently, illegal fishers have little trouble hiding on the vast oceans. Our work will shine a spotlight on those criminals and their activities, and help bring them to justice.” Martin added that, “This pioneering project emerged from one of the Catapult spark workshops, which invite experts from diverse fields to develop innovative, effective solutions to major problems using satellite-derived data.”

Tony Long, director of Pew’s Ending Illegal Fishing Project, said, “Combining satellite technology with maritime expertise to combat illegal fishing makes sense economically, environmentally and socially. Criminal fishing operations use a wide range of ruses to steal fish from the commons, victimizing everyone who relies on the oceans for food and a livelihood. This project closes the net around illegal fishing.”

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