New Web-Based Tool for Detecting Illegal Fishing

By The Maritime Executive 11-20-2017 05:01:04

Environmental organizations TRAFFIC and WWF along with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have teamed up to develop a new web-based tool to address illegal fishing.

DETECT-IT, a data analytics tool, is designed to help businesses, non-governmental organizations, customs officers, law enforcement and fisheries officials to search quickly through fish trade data to identify potential illegally caught and traded fish products around the world.

The tool helps find discrepancies in reported trade data in both farmed and wild-caught products between countries and raises red flags where laundering or illegal trade may be occurring.

Previously, trade data had to be evaluated manually, and the process to search for discrepancies was slow and laborious. DETECT-IT significantly speeds up the process, allowing millions of trade records to be searched in seconds.

“Illegal fishing is hugely destructive to ocean ecosystems, communities and economies,” said Michele Kuruc, WWF’s vice president of ocean policy. “DETECT-IT is a new weapon in the global fight against the criminals pillaging our seas for their own personal gain.”

Global estimates suggest that more than 30 percent of all fish is illegally caught and causes up to $36.4 billion in worldwide losses each year. Illegal fishing contributes to ecosystem destruction, overfishing, threatens food security and has been linked to human rights violations.

“We’re starting with illegal fish, but that’s not where we plan to stop,” said Kuruc. “As DETECT-IT is tested and refined, this technology can be used to crack down on other highly-trafficked natural resources, including timber and wildlife.”

DETECT-IT was developed by HPE as part of the Living Progress Challenge with support from coders at Topcoder and DXC Technology.

The tool can be accessed at https://detect.trade and is best viewed in Google Chrome.