Satellite technology system to detect illegal fishing vessels developed by British firm Catapult. (Photo: Catapult)
New surveillance system to detect illegal fishing to be tested
Monday, December 19, 2016, 22:40 (GMT + 9)
Starting in March next year, the Chilean Navy will begin to implement a new surveillance system against illegal fishing, which is expected to overcome the limitations of the current inspection.
What the Chilean authorities are looking for is to be able to detect vessels that, perhaps because they are involved in illegal practices, do not carry active satellite tracking equipment.
The new system is part of a project that the firm Catapult, UK, is developing for Chile: Satellite Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness for Chile (Semdac). At the moment work is being carried out on a prototype, and the idea is to be able to test it in the Chilean jurisdictional sea that surrounds Easter Islands as well as Salas and Gomez, now protected as a marine park because of its great ichthyological wealth, reported El Mercurio.
At present, the Navy has AIS system (Automatic Identification System), mandatory on all vessels having more than 500 tons of record. The AIS sends signals that can be captured by satellites and, in combination with satellite positioning systems (GPS), allow the Navy and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA) to monitor the passage of factory ships, which are international considering the EEZ, especially in the oceanic islands.
But it is known that some international ships turn off their AIS and GPS when they are pursuing schools that go into the Chilean jurisdictional sea. This was demonstrated by a monitoring activity carried out in 2013 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which detected 73 ships in suspicious attitudes around Easter Island.
Semdac is software that detects anomalies in AIS signals and alerts enforcement agencies when a ship shuts down its system and describes the route it carries out so that they can decide if they send air or sea patrol vessels to the area of suspicious activity.