Fisheries and Oceans Canada is partnering with other federal departments, including Global Affairs and National Defense, on a program called Dark Vessel Detection, to monitor illegal and unreported fishing in the waters around Ecuador.
Program partners include the Forum Fisheries Agency, which represents 15 small island nations in the Pacific region; the Ecuadorian Maritime Authority and the National Directorate of Aquatic Spaces, which is in charge of surveillance and control in the Ecuadorian maritime domain.
In December, 2020, Canada signed a memorandum with Ecuador to formalize their partnership, and enhance surveillance around the Galapagos Islands – a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The $7 million Dark Vessel Detection program uses satellite technology to locate and track vessels whose location transmitting devices have been switched off, sometimes in an attempt to evade monitoring, control and surveillance, according to the DFO.
The program will provide state-of-the-art satellite data and analysis to small island nations and coastal states around the world where IUU fishing has a major impact on local economies, food security and the health of fish stocks.
Canadian space technology involvement
“Illegal fishing threatens the health of our fish stocks and takes resources away from hard-working, law-abiding fishers,” said Fisheries and Oceans minister Bernadette Jordan in a press release today. “Through the Dark Vessel Detection program, we’re partnering with other ocean nations to better detect and prevent illegal fishing around the world. We’re investing in one of the leading, most innovative systems on the planet to ensure our fish stocks are protected, our fisheries remain lucrative, and the law is upheld at sea.”
The technology for the Dark Vessel Detection program is being supplied by Ontario-based space technology company MDA.
MDA is a consortium led by Toronto-based investment firm Northern Private Capital, led by John Risley and Andrew Lapham. For more about the company visit: http://www.mdacorporation.com
Company CEO Mike Greenley said, “MDA looks forward to working with . . . Fisheries and Oceans to deliver this important project that will help Canada contribute to international efforts aimed at combatting illegal fishing. From their unique vantage point in space, imaging satellites like RADARSAT-2 are a key tool in tackling this global challenge.”
The Dark Vessel Detection program is part of the $11.6 million in funding for Canada’s commitments to ocean health announced at the 2018 G7 ministerial meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
This is not the first time Canada has partnered with other countries to combat illegal fishing.
Earlier this year, Fisheries and Oceans Canada launched a pilot program to track dark vessels internationally, working with the Canadian Space Agency and non-government organizations to detect dark vessels in the Bahamas and Costa Rica.
According to the department, this work has already led to significant fines to five foreign vessels.
Read the original coverage via SaltWire at https://www.saltwire.com/business/local-business/how-halifax-billionaire-john-risley-is-helping-canada-ecuador-fight-illegal-fishing-556300/
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