Canada Launches Satellite Technology That Identifies ‘Dark Vessels’ Illegally Catching Billions of Fish


Canada’s new Dark Vessel Detection program is using cutting-edge satellite technology to find illegal fishing vessels that attempt to hide in plain sight stealing fish from waters around the world. “Dark” vessels switch off their location transmitters to avoid detection so they can engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, called IUU. IUU fishing is a major contributor to the decline of fish stocks and marine habitat destruction, which undermines the livelihoods of legitimate fish harvesters. Now, the government’s Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in partnership with the Department of National Defense and MDA (Canada’s largest space technology manufacturer which owns RADARSAT-2), has launched a new program that has already led to significant fines on five foreign vessels. The $7 million Dark Vessel Detection program uses satellite technology to locate and track vessels whose location transmitting devices have been switched off, sometimes in an attempt to evade monitoring, control and surveillance.

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