14 Oct 2014

Global monitoring offer for Pacific fisheries

9:55 pm on 14 October 2014

Pacific Island countries are being offered access to a so-called virtual watchroom to help combat illegal fishing in their waters.

Pew Charitable Trusts is developing a one-stop hub for fisheries-dependent countries which aims to close gaps in surveillance and enforcement.

Experts estimate that illegal and unreported fishing accounts for one in five fish, worth up to $23 and half billion US dollars a year.

Tony Long of Pew's Ending Illegal Fishing Project says the project involves sharing information like satellite and vessel data to create a global monitoring tool.

"It can be either adopted in house by a government, navy or coastguard of any country in the world, or you can effectively take it virtually, like a virtual watchroom. We're trying to get people to share the various different data sources and the more it's shared, the more reputable it becomes."

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Photo: Giff Johnson

Mr Long says Pew hopes to run a pilot project of the system in Pitcairn Island's proposed marine reserve.