Fish smarter: new documentary explores how technology can revolutionize fishing

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(WASHINGTON – October 19, 2021) The Environmental Defense Fund today launched a new short film highlighting the valuable role of new technologies such as machine learning and smartphone apps in strengthening the global fishing industry for increased climate resilience, sustainability and well-being for fishing. dependent communities.

The 20-minute documentary, “Fishing Smarter: How new technology can help our oceans prosper,” follows several fisheries technology projects led by EDF’s Oceans Technology Solutions team and demonstrates the real potential of digital technology to generate benefits for fishermen and fishworkers. and their communities. The film, showcasing innovative projects from Indonesia, Mexico and the United States, highlights the important and useful role that technology can play in improving fisheries management, food security and sustainability. community.

“Emerging technologies can enable fishermen to harvest more sustainably and efficiently, and minimize their impacts on ocean ecosystems. Our projects on the water show that fishing technology can potentially bring huge benefits if it is widely extended, ”said Christopher Cusack, director of Oceans Technology Solutions.

Many of the digital technologies highlighted in the film are ‘smart’ computer vision cameras, which can effectively monitor fishing activity on a vessel (eg electronic monitoring or EM) or track fishing effort. in terms of the number of ships entering and leaving port areas. For example, SmartPass camera systems at the busiest ports in Lampung Province, Indonesia, allow more accurate estimates of fishing effort in the popular blue swimming crab fishery. Due to the sheer volume of small vessels participating in the fishery, managers have not been able to quantify the fishing effort so far.

As climate change poses increased challenges to the availability and equitable distribution of fishery resources, cost-effective technologies can be a large part of the solution to overcome these challenges and meet the needs of ocean-dependent communities for food. , nutrition and livelihoods.

“With good data collection, we can prevent the disappearance of fish,” said Victor Pandapotan Malau, a fishery enumerator from Indonesia, featured in the film.

Innovative technological advances have revolutionized other sectors of food production. However, digital ocean technologies have yet to have a significant impact on wild capture fisheries. As around 3 billion people worldwide depend on fishing as their primary source of protein, it is essential to ensure that fishing is resistant to climate change, overfishing and other stressors. Technology can help solve these challenges and should be implemented responsibly, with equity, inclusion and cost in mind.

Yet new technologies are not a panacea, and there are still barriers that limit their more widespread and equitable adoption for fisheries, such as costs, delays in policy development, and challenges in sharing water. ‘information. The film shows how overcoming these obstacles and ensuring that technologies are implemented with fishermen and their communities at the center of the solution, can help ensure more sustainable, profitable and efficient fishing.

“Fishing is what sustains our community. There is no one here in the Gulf of Santa Clara who is not involved in curvina fishing, ”said Cirila Aldama of the Franco Fishing Cooperative in the Gulf of Santa Clara, Sonora, Mexico, a player in the fishery also featured in the film. The Curvina Fishery in the Gulf of Santa Clara was home to the Community Catch Monitoring Project, which used QR codes and mobile phone apps to track the number of vessels fishing to ensure sustainability.

EDF’s Oceans Technology Solutions team strives to accelerate the adoption of new technologies to dramatically improve the sustainability, efficiency and profitability of the fishing industry around the world. In addition, EDF strives to meet some of the greatest challenges facing our oceans by removing barriers to the adoption of new technologies.

“Fishing Smarter” aims to educate both familiar and new audiences on the value that digital technologies can bring to the sustainable management of the world’s fisheries resources. Learn more about the digital fishing revolution here and watch “Fish Smarter: How New Technologies Can Help Our Oceans Thrive” here.


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