Allen Institute For AI pledges $3 million to accelerate the use of AI to address illegal fishing

Through its Skylight platform, the institute will invest in satellite imagery and computer vision algorithms that will help nations protect their marine resources and promote ocean health for future generations.

Photo courtesy: Fabrice Dudenhofer / Ocean Image Bank

Panama City, Panama – Today, at the 2023 Our Ocean Conference, the Allen Institute for AI (AI2) committed $3 million to accelerate the way AI can be leveraged in the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Over the next three years through its Skylight platform, AI2 will provide cutting-edge AI applications as well as satellite imagery to improve the way those on the frontlines protect our ocean – a place all of our lives depend on.

Every year it’s estimated that IUU fishing is responsible for the loss of 11-26 million tons of fish – representing a loss of around $10-23 billion for countries across the globe. And with already strained ocean resources, any IUU fishing poses a direct risk to the health of our world’s oceans. To make matters worse, those most impacted are developing countries and small island developing nations that depend on fisheries for food security and livelihoods.

As part of this commitment, Skylight will provide governments, NGOs, and the international community with $1.5 million in commercial imagery they need to better capture activities at-sea and dramatically reduce the costs associated with enforcing marine protected areas (MPAs), exclusive economic zones (EEZs), and the open ocean. This complements the regular and publicly available satellite imagery already provided by the platform.

In addition, AI2 also pledges to invest $1.5 million in developing computer vision algorithms able to detect “dark vessels” or those evading detection and make this available at no-cost to MPA managers working to protect our ocean. Often under-resourced with vast areas to monitor, computer vision offers government and non-government organizations a critical tool to ensure they can manage and enforce the regulations required to protect these marine habitats and the potential they have to restore our ocean.

New computer vision algorithms that harness the latest satellite imagery constitute a breakthrough, saving time and resources, and help authorities more efficiently monitor their areas. Over the next three years, the Skylight team is committed to incorporating additional imagery sources and AI applications into the platform to greatly increase both the area and frequency at which potentially illegal or non-compliant behavior can be detected. By supporting those on the water with game changing technology such as AI, particularly computer vision, Skylight is helping to provide actionable intelligence to address IUU fishing and other threats to our ocean.