The Nature Conservancy launches technology plan to balance tuna fishery

Artificial Intelligence might help a scientists and a conservation organization bring changes to the tuna fishery and establish a sustainable seafood supply.

The Nature Conservancy announced the launch of a “technology challenge” to help shore up the tuna fishery and combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

“In the Pacific, where we source more than half of our world’s tuna supply, 98 percent of longline tuna boats are operating blind. An estimated $500 million to $1.5 billion is lost every year from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the region,” The Nature Conservancy staff said in a released statement. “Knowing what, where and how much is being caught is key to managing a sustainable fishery.”

The Nature Conservancy’s “technology challenge” aims to ramp up data review time. Fishing boats can be equipped with electronic monitoring systems (cameras, sensors, GPS, etc.). Analyzing data afterwards is the biggest struggle, according to the Nature Conservancy.

“It takes a person six hours to review a single, ten-hour fishing day. There are thousands of boats in the fishery, which go out for weeks or months at a time so when they return, they would have hundreds of hours of footage to review,” The Nature Conservancy staff stated in its announcement, which was made Nov. 14.

Artificial Intelligence could be used to help review data and ultimately restore a depleted tuna supply.

“The challenge calls for data scientists to apply Artificial Intelligence to the video review process,” The Nature Conservancy staff stated. “Artificial Intelligence coupled with electronic monitoring on fishing boats could be the answer to restoring our depleting tuna supply, protecting vulnerable species like sharks and turtles, and securing the economies of Pacific Island nations.”

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