National Fisherman

Smarter fishing: AI and new technologies are revolutionizing fishing

The new Environmental Defense Fund documentary “Fishing Smarter” reveals how digital technology solutions can revolutionize fishing to improve sustainability and profitability.

The Environmental Defense Fund’s new film, “Fishing Smarter,” released last October, is a 20-minute documentary that shows how fishermen, from the United States to Indonesia, are applying innovative solutions to revolutionize bring into fishing to improve the sustainability, profitability and resilience of the community. “Smarter Fishing: How New Technology Can Help Our Oceans Thrive” was presented at the 2021 Florida Environmental Film Festival and the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival.

Today, billions of people around the world depend on the oceans for food and an important source of protein and 260 million people depend on marine fisheries for their livelihoods, yet, says the Environmental Defense Fund, “many are left in the wild. caught fisheries are coming under increasing pressure from overfishing, pollution and climate change” adding that “however, there are promising digital technology solutions that could revolutionize fishing to improve community sustainability, profitability and resilience.”

National Fisherman published a note about a new book last May, The Blue Revolution – Hunting, Harvesting and Farming Seafood in the Information Age, written by Nicholas P. Sullivan, telling the story of a long and worrisome problem for the world’s oceans, with few answers: overfishing. The author notes, “There is hope, however,” adding that “as older fishing fleets retire and new technologies develop, a better, more sustainable way to grow this popular protein has emerged to profoundly change the balance.” .”

Electronic monitoring and privacy

The documentary “Fishing Smarter: How New Technology Can Help Our Oceans Thrive” reveals, through the experience of fishermen around the world, how new technology, from artificial intelligence to the internet, can help the oceans. The 20-minute short film follows the people on the front lines using technology and data to make ocean ecosystems and fisheries more resilient.

Watch as small-scale fishermen, fisheries managers and other stakeholders explore how new and emerging technologies enhance the health, sustainability and profitability of their local catches and ecosystems. From blue crab in Indonesia to curvina in the Gulf of California in Mexico, innovative use of technology in fisheries is making a difference. The documentary also shows how fishermen in the United States are using new technologies, such as electronic monitoring, onboard their vessels, and reflects on some of the privacy challenges they can create and what is being done to solve them.

The documentary also shows how technologies like SmartPass are being created to solve the world’s fishing challenges – or improve already sustainable fisheries – by leveraging modern technology and collecting accurate, up-to-date data. Developed over the past three years by experts at EDF and its partners — Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, CVision AI, Teem Fish Monitoring and Snap IT — SmartPass is an innovative approach to fisheries monitoring that uses shore-based cameras and machine learning to monitor fisheries to provide managers with near real-time effort estimates for recreational fishing at sea.

SmartPass technology used in Oregon

SmartPass can be used to count the number of recreational fishing vessels leaving a harbor or coastal pass in near real time, all year round, during all daylight hours (without obscuration due to heavy fog or other weather). Digital cameras combined with machine learning thus offer an opportunity to expand the scope of shore-based effort monitoring, both spatially and temporarily. While SmartPass was designed with recreational fisheries in mind, it is important to understand that the recreational harvest of many species matches or exceeds the commercial harvest, making it important for fisheries management agencies to have reliable data for sustainable management of fisheries. recreational fishing.

The team behind the SmartPass project notes that “given the modular and adaptable nature of the SmartPass approach, there is tremendous potential to improve fishing effort estimates in fisheries around the world – not just for recreational fisheries but also for commercial and small-scale fisheries with similar data needs.” For more information about SmartPass, download the 17 page document “SmartPass An Innovative Approach to Measuring Fishing Efforts Using Smart Cameras and Machine Learning”.

Image credit: NOAANOAA Fisheries and Electronic Monitoring

The use of video monitoring of fishing boats is not exactly a new idea, but its implementation is challenging due to the design of the boats and the location where the fish are brought on board, as well as the rules that apply to the fishery. Despite all this, scientists, managers and fishermen have collaborated in recent years to design a functional system that works for the longline fleet. NOAA Fisheries has worked with fishermen in several fisheries over the past decade to support more than 30 pilot electronic monitoring projects.

An important milestone was reached in the summer of 2015, as every boat in the US Atlantic longline fleet was equipped with a video surveillance system. Nearly a year later, in February, scientists and fishermen working together to design electronic monitoring systems agreed on one thing: While the system will be an important part of fishing vessels in the future, there will be no one-size-fits-all. -all solution.

One thing is true: these new technologies hold great promise for making data collection more timely, accurate and cost-efficient. For more information on how NOAA Fisheries is investing in technology that fishermen use to track their catch, follow the link to the page under the title Electronic surveillance explained

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