Challenges of using Nighttime Lights and Transponder Data for the Detection of Illegal Fishing near Indigenous Communities

Date Published: 
05 Sep 2018

Throughout the world, Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices are a serious problem, threatening the biodiversity of the marine environment, and, in extreme cases, the existence of entire species. In a human rights context, the practice likewise threatens the livelihoods, cultural traditions, and food supply of indigenous communities who rely on the sea for their survival, either through direct competition for resources, or by providing incentives for members to abandon traditional ways of life in favor of more profitable, but unsustainable, practices such as shark finning. This project endeavored to establish the usefulness of using nighttime lights data to identify hotspots of possible illegal fishing by combining the NOAA boat detection data product with space-based AIS observations.