This fugitive ship got away with stealing millions of fish for years. Inside how experts are using AI to fight illegal fishing on a massive scale.
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OceanMind does not endorse the blowing up of vessels. This action is done independently from OceanMind by the Indonesian government.
The vessel sometimes known as the STS-50 had been engaging in illegal fishing targeting Patagonian toothfish, also known as Chilean sea bass, for years. It was in the Northwestern Pacific in Chinese ports. It was in Southwest and Southeast Africa. It was operating in the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific and Southern Oceans. The vessel just became a rotating cast of identities, names, home ports, and flag states that they were constantly changing out in an attempt to evade law enforcement around the world. They lied to port officials, they lied to coastal states, they submitted false documentation relating to the catch onboard the vessel and what they were trying to export. A significant portion of the world’s fisheries are overfished and this trend is only growing.
IUU fishing is a major contributor to unsustainable fishing practices around the world. Some estimates have placed the upper end of the value at 23.5 billion US dollars per year in product and up to one in five fish being linked to possible illegal fishing. There’s frequently an overlap in operators who are willing to engage in illegal fishing and in forced labor. If you’re willing to break the rules for fisheries, you’re probably also willing to break the rules and abuse your crew by forcibly keeping them onboard the vessel, which they can’t leave because it’s out at sea. The STS-50 is a case in point.
It really comes down to the problem that when you get off shore it’s harder for law enforcement to monitor what’s actually happening on board vessels. And this is where OceanMind comes in, OceanMind started out as a technology project to better identify illegal fishing for action by enforcement authorities.
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