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Issue 33 Print 72dpi

Leonardo Di Caprio and Google Unveil an App To Help Stop Illegal Fishing

Leonardo Di Caprio, recently awarding $15.6 million in grants to environmental issues, unveiled a new app called Global Fishing Watch.

The app lets anyone with internet connection anywhere in the world to monitor and track commercial fishing activity on the planet. Created in a joint venture by tech giant Google, Skytruth and ocean conservation organisation Oceana, Global Fishing Watch allows users to view a world map with more than 35,000 fishing vessels moving around in real time, CBC News reports.

LDF (Leonard Di Caprio Foundation) was one of the project’s funders, and the app was made in an effort to address the problem of illegal fishing.

Ocean Canada’s Josh Laughren said the app can monitor and hopefully deter illegal fishing, as it determined specific fishing behaviours and routes. Users can tell if fishing boats are going beyond their boundaries and into protected waters.

The data comes from publicly available identification technology that all ships have. The technology is a safety measure meant to prevent accidents on the high seas. The pings sent to either a satellite or a land receiver are sent every few seconds are collated by Global Fishing Watch to pinpoint the location and identity of a specific ship.

Laughren explains: “Illegal fishing, especially on the high seas, hurts the planet’s food security. It hurts the fishing industry and the communities that rely on it”.

According to a 2013 World Ocean Review, 11 to 26 million tons of seafood are caught illicitly, and curbing these operations has been a very difficult tasks.

Many of those in the fishing industry agree, and are hopeful that the app can indeed make fishing much more sustainable, giving the public power to help make a difference in the cause.

The app has a website that gives full instructions on what to do and how to track vessels, as well as an FAQ section to answer any questions that users might have on the operation and on commercial fishing technology.
Credit: Immortal News

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