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Enhancing Governments’ presence at sea through the provision of low-cost intelligent technological solutions and local capacity building.

Illegal fishing is a major and growing concern for the protection of natural resources, food security and marine biodiversity. It has become a particular threat to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) the economies of which heavily rely on fisheries. They struggle to monitor their vast Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), which threatens their capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

FishGuard is an initiative that provides smart technological solutions to prevent illegal fishing in Coastal and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This cooperative venture between Atlan Space, TMT and GRID-Arendal was initiated following a request to GRID-Arendal from the Government of the Republic of Seychelles to help identify a cost-efficient and innovative solution to monitor the country’s EEZ.

The potential benefits of FishGuard have already been recognised: In 2018, the FishGuard Partnership was selected as one of the three winners of the National Geographic Marine Protection Prize, aimed at promoting emerging technology and data collection solutions to effectively detect illegal fishing.

FishGuard strengthens national law enforcement by using modern crime detection tools. These include long-range drones armed with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for monitoring large marine areas and short-range, manually controlled drones. It also takes advantage of satellites with optical and synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) remote sensing equipment, complemented by earth observation, automatic identification systems (AIS) and vessel monitoring systems (VMS). The integration of different kinds of data is what makes it possible to detect “dark targets” (unregistered vessels).

This smart approach is expected to prevent illegal activities and decrease the negative impact of illegal fishing on marine resources and the people who depend on them.

FishGuard is an innovative initiative that could also become a global tool for organized crime detection as it may be able to identify any sort of illegal activities such as illegally extracted natural resources, human or drug trafficking.

Project partners

ATLAN Space, based in Morocco, develops a patented Artificial Intelligence-based solution to guide networks of monitoring drones and provides technological support and training in FishGuard. Contact: badr.idrissi@atlanspace.com

Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT)is a non-profit organization providing national fisheries authorities and international organisations with expert fisheries intelligence analysis and training, in support of enforcement actions and broader improvements in fisheries governance. Contact: dcopeland@tm-tracking.org

Tags: biodiversity agriculture air pollution Caspian Sea environment and health fisheries infrastructure mining tourism transboundary governance waste waste and material resources water

Related Sustainable Development Goals

GRID-Arendal's activities support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


GRID-Arendal's activities are nearly always a cooperative undertaking made possible through collaboration with partners and donors.

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