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Award Winning Project Helps In Hunting Illegal Fishing

Illegal fishing and overfishing deplete fish stocks worldwide,

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Fish are seen in a fish market near the canal of Port Said, Egypt, March 18, 2018.
Fish are seen in a fish market near the canal of Port Said, Egypt, March 18, 2018. VOA

Drones guided by artificial intelligence to catch boats netting fish where they shouldn’t were among the winners of a marine protection award on Friday and could soon be deployed to fight illegal fishing, organizers said.

The award-winning project aims to help authorities hunt down illegal fishing boats using drones fitted with cameras that can monitor large swaths of water autonomously.

Illegal fishing and overfishing deplete fish stocks worldwide, causing billions of dollars in losses a year and threatening the livelihoods of rural coastal communities, according to the United Nations.

The National Geographic Society awarded the project, co-developed by Morocco-based company ATLAN Space, and two other innovations $150,000 each to implement their plans as it marked World Oceans Day on Friday.

The aircraft can cover a range of up to 700 km (435 miles) and use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to drive them in search of fishing vessels, said ATLAN Space’s founder, Badr Idrissi.

“Once (the drone) detects something, it goes there and identifies what it’s seeing,” Idrissi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Idrissi said the technology, which is to be piloted in the Seychelles later this year, was more effective than traditional sea patrols and allowed coast guards to save money and time.

From satellites tracking trawlers on the high seas to computer algorithms identifying illegal behaviors, new technologies are increasingly coming to the aid of coast guards worldwide.

The head of a model fish is seen hanging in front a banner during a protest against overfishing outside the European Union Council in Brussels, May 13, 2013.
The head of a model fish is seen hanging in front a banner during a protest against overfishing outside the European Union Council in Brussels, May 13, 2013. VOA

AI allows the drones to check a boat’s identification number, establish whether it is fishing inside a protected area or without permit, verify whether it is known to authorities and count people on board, Idrissi said.

If something appears to be wrong, it can alert authorities.

Other winners were Marine Conservation Cambodia, which uses underwater concrete blocks to impede the use of bottom-dragged nets, and U.S.-based Pelagic Data Systems, which plans to combat illegal fishing in Thailand with tracking technologies.

“The innovations from the three winning teams have the potential to greatly increase sustainable fishing in coastal systems,” National Geographic Society’s chief scientist Jonathan Baillie said in a statement.

Much of the world’s fish stocks are overfished or fully exploited, according the U.N. food agency, and fish consumption rose above 20 kilograms per person in 2016 for the first time.

Fish swim in the Mediterranean sea on the south coast of the Balearic island of Mallorca, Spain.
Fish swim in the Mediterranean sea on the south coast of the Balearic island of Mallorca, Spain. VOA

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Global marine catches have declined by 1.2 million tons a year since 1996, according to The Sea Around Us, a research initiative involving the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia. (VOA)

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Cyber-Security Project of Google Named ‘Chronicle’ Imploads in Trouble

Originally announced as an independent start up in early 2018 by Google's parent company Alphabet, Chronicle was was supposed to "revolutionise" cybersecurity

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Chronicle
One of the reasons why Chronicle was folded back into Google is the fact that staff compensation became a sore point. Pixabay

Cybersecurity project of Google named “Chronicle” is imploding in trouble and some employees feel its management “abandoned and betrayed” the original vision, media reports said.

Chronicle’s CEO and Chief Security Officer have already left and the Chief Technology Officer is leaving later this month while other key officials are eyeing an exit, according to the Motherboard.

In June this year, Chronicle lost its status as an independent entity when it formally joined Google to become part of its Cloud security offerings.

One of the reasons why it was folded back into Google is the fact that staff compensation became a sore point, because Google reportedly didn’t adjust Chronicle staffers’ salaries and stock packages, which were lower than those for other Google employees.

Originally announced as an independent start up in early 2018 by Google’s parent company Alphabet, Chronicle was was supposed to “revolutionise” cybersecurity.

Chronicle
Cybersecurity project of Google named “Chronicle” is imploding in trouble and some employees feel its management “abandoned and betrayed” the original vision. Pixabay

It was supposed to be an independent start up with its own contracts and policies — at least, that’s what CEO Stephen Gillett wrote when the business was launched.

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Employees have left because of a combination of Chronicle losing its original vision, a distant CEO, a lack of clarity about Chronicle’s future, and disappointment that the start-up has been swallowed into Google, according to interviews with five current and former employees, the Motherboard report added. (IANS)