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Satellite technology from Surrey University aids Mauritius in illegal fishing detection
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Satellite technology from Surrey University aids Mauritius in illegal fishing detection
by Sophie Jenkins
London, UK (SPX) Apr 22, 2024

The Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) has teamed up with the University of Surrey to tackle illegal fishing using satellite technology. The Nereus project employs satellite imagery combined with ship location data, enhanced by artificial intelligence to identify potential illegal activities by monitoring maritime movements.

Dr. Raffaella Guida, a specialist in Satellite Remote Sensing at the Surrey Space Centre, emphasized the project's significance. "Finding illegal fishing vessels off Mauritius is extremely challenging," Dr. Guida explained. "Our advanced satellite data analysis helps pinpoint high-risk areas and detect unusual maritime behavior, aiding the authorities in their enforcement efforts."

The initiative, supported by the UN Development Programme's Ocean Innovation Challenge, enables the National Coast Guard to access live satellite feeds through a Surrey-developed plug-in. This integration provides precise surveillance capabilities, crucial for the proactive investigation of suspected illegal fishing activities.

As Mauritius gears up to host its inaugural International Space Symposium on April 18, this project marks a significant advancement. Dr. Vickram Bissonauth, Research Director at MRIC, remarked, "Three years following our first satellite launch, Nereus stands as our initial application of such data, showcasing the potential of space technology in solving practical problems faced by small island states."

Dr. Mary Matthews from the United Nations Development Programme highlighted the broader implications of the project. "Illegal fishing poses a complex threat affecting economic, societal, and ecological stability," she said. "Through collaborations like this, we harness innovative technologies to address these critical challenges, bringing renewed hope to the ongoing battle against illegal fishing."

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