Project Eyes on the Seas – a joint collaboration between the Satellite Application Catapult and The Pew Charitable Trusts – has made a ground-breaking contribution to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency’s (FFA) annual initiative to identify and respond to Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Operation Kurukuru 2015 involved the largest intelligence and analysis team to ever participate in a Pacific fisheries surveillance operation against IUU. For the first time ever, it featured the use of satellite-based surveillance, thanks in part to the Catapult’s Ocean Sustainability Business Unit.
The Catapult delivered analysis of satellite observations that provided significant situational awareness over the waters of several countries that are members of the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG), a subset of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
Royal Australian Navy FFA RFSC team leader, Commander Gavin Baker, said: “Operation Kurukuru 2015 was the first operation during which we received, reviewed and processed satellite-based surveillance imagery to augment and confirm the data generated by the Regional Surveillance Picture. The information provided by the Catapult served to improve the overall clarity of the Regional Surveillance Picture, with data analysis of known contacts giving us suspicions of illicit activity.”
Catapult Senior Fisheries Analyst, Brad Soule, said: “The analysis supported enforcement and investigative resources by identifying possible dark targets and vessels of interest for additional review by the PLG operational teams and the intelligence cell in the FFA Regional Fisheries Surveillance Center (RFSC).”
Following Operation Kurukuru 2015, Project Eyes on the Seas is continuing to support the extensive monitoring, control and surveillance efforts of several PLG member countries. This support will include the use of sensors to identify dark vessels, along with analysis of vessel behaviour and permits to inform the relevant authorities of suspicious or abnormal activity for further investigation.
Project Eyes on the Seas aims to deliver a secure and trusted analytical capability to provide actionable intelligence on fisheries and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) monitoring, marine reserves, and at-sea supply chains. This support is designed for governments and those interested in monitoring their supply chains who can use this information to best effect.