Improving maritime transparency to protect our ocean

Skylight helps improve maritime transparency and provides actionable intelligence to protect our oceans

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is an economic, human rights and food security issue that impacts billions of dollars and millions of people globally and is a key driver of ocean health decline. Skylight was developed to enable maritime analysts to identify suspicious vessel behavior and alert authorities who can investigate, and take enforcement and compliance action when necessary.

Intelligence in the Fight against IUU Fishing

The prevalence of illegal fishing makes the ocean the world’s largest crime scene, which disproportionately impacts under-resourced coastal countries. With insufficient regulations and resources for the vast areas they need to monitor, agencies we work with believe technology and policy play a key role in solutions for this global issue. Countries with the political will to tackle the issue need the resources to efficiently detect and document illegal vessel activity while it is happening so they can act both on the water and in their courts of law.

Achieving Maritime Transparency

Skylight features enable enforcement of maritime laws by:

  • Identifying incursions or loitering by commercial fishing vessels in or near Marine Protected Areas
  • Highlighting where transshipments of fish or other goods may be occurring especially near or in a country's Exclusive Economic Zones
  • Tracking networks and enablers of illegal activity, such as vessels who bunker (re-fuel) other illegal fishing vessels

Alerting Tools Aid in Real-Time Awareness

Skylight’s real-time tracking gives users the opportunity to set up alerts for their area of interest. These alerts and the tracking system document vessel activities over time.

  • RENDEZVOUS: An event where two vessels, transmitting AIS, have met on the open ocean
  • DARK RENDEZVOUS: An event where only one vessel is transmitting AIS, but has a pattern that could indicate a rendezvous with a dark vessel.
  • ENTRY: An event where a vessel enters a pre-defined area.
  • PROXIMITY: An event where a vessel enters a pre-defined buffer zone around an area

How Skylight Detects and Deters IUU Fishing

  • Skylight is the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence’s contribution to ocean health and there is no cost to end users who are serious about detecting and deterring IUU.
  • Millions of incoming data points are automatically analyzed to highlight highly suspect events rather than showing a “spaghetti bowl” of vessel tracks.
  • Automatic Identification System (AIS)-based alerts are generated and shared in real-time.
  • Features like dark rendezvous employ advanced machine learning analytics.
  • No specialized hardware is needed since Skylight is available through a simple and secure web-based login.

A Global Collaboration

Skylight is only as valuable as the network of implementation and funding partnerships that bring it to reality.

Partners such as WildAid and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Global Maritime Crime Programme contribute on-the-ground resources in countries most threatened by illegal fishing activities. This critical capacity building will drive the positive impact of reducing the number of fish illegally stripped from the sea.

Technology partners such as Global Fishing Watch  working alongside Skylight represent a comprehensive solution to agencies aiming to combat IUU through enforcement, deterrence, and transparency by leveraging advanced technology, skilled analysts, and the most extensive data available.

Our partners such as Blue Nature Alliance and Oceans5 help us scale the application of Skylight technology across the globe through support for capacity building, training and other resources to enforce fisheries regulations and protect marine reserves. They also help drive the transparency and the political will necessary to regulate the fishing industry and protect territorial waters.

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