Earlier this Friday, environmentalists worldwide applauded the initiative of two important American ecological non -profit organizations, SkyTruth and Oceana, for running a program meant to allow a bunch of selected few to pinpoint illegal fishing activities taking place in the world’s oceans. The fish reserves are depleting quite fast and the poaching of fish is a disastrous activity in terms of environmental protection, this is why such global watch of illegal overfishing seems to become a necessity. Of course, the world’s resources are also an issue to be addressed. The best part of all this is that the Global Fishing Watch program is powered by Google, in terms of finances and cutting – edge technology.
The program is based on the Automatic Identification System (AIS), hi – tech mapping technologies, satellite – gathered data and cloud computing services. Having this powerful tech foundation, the Global Fishing Watch program will be able to monitor fishing activities in real time and space and transmit live data to the watchers.
So far, the program is destined to fisheries managers, non-profit organizations and researchers, but the program partners are said to wish to expand the program and turn it into a public platform, where any environmentalist can sign in and become an illegal overfishing voluntary monitor.
However, in order to turn all eco – friendly people into vigilant watchers, the initiative needs a sum between $3 and $5 million in the next two years. Turning an exclusive service into a public one would not only increase awareness on the illegal fishing activities, but would also pressure governments and competent authorities to take measures against the perpetrators, to confiscate the goods, give painful fines to those breaking the law or even arrest them.
On the bright side, now that the Global Fishing Watch program benefits from Google’s hi – tech services, chances are the project will gain the attention and the funding it needs. According to SkyTruth president John Amos,
So much of what happens out on the high seas is invisible, and that has been a huge barrier to understanding and showing the world what’s at stake for the ocean. But now, satellite data is allowing us to make human interaction with the ocean more transparent than ever before.
Google’s financial involvement in the project still remains undisclosed. What we do know is that the tech giant provides the initiative with engineering services, mapping technologies, software and servers to get things done. It is true that even specialists having access to the program will have a hard time distinguishing a legal fishing activity from an illegal one from across the world, but the partnership in itself and the overall strategy employed by the three pivots shine a ray of hope on a very serious environmental global issue.