Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Using Drones to Help Spot Illegal Fishing

The undulating western coast of Africa is one of the most diverse fishing zones in the world, with more than 1,000 identified fish species. It’s also one of the most at risk. One of the World Wildlife Fund’s “Critical Regions of the World,” the West African marine region has been overfished for decades, with rampant illegal fishing threatening marine ecosystems and the millions who depend on them.

Estimated catches in the region are 40 percent higher than reported figures, costing the governments of West African countries more than $2.3 billion a year in fishing licenses, taxes and fees. Reversing the trend with better enforcement of fishing laws is no easy task. Monitoring vast swaths of ocean with a fleet of manned aircraft and boats is impractical for countries with limited economic resources.