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Leveraging space to protect the Pacific’s fishing resources

Stephen Kuper

Australian-based Geospatial Intelligence and Canada-based exactEarth have renewed their contract to leverage maritime domain awareness expertise to provide Satellite Automatic Identification System (S-AIS) technology and data to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) for another three years.

Leveraging space to protect the Pacific’s fishing resources
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The FFA assists its 17 member countries to sustainably manage the Pacific tuna fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile exclusive economic zones.

For over 40 years, the FFA has provided effective policy and technical services to its members to ensure its members enjoy the greatest possible social and economic benefits from the sustainable use of the offshore fisheries resources in the Pacific, including combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Rob Coorey, chief executive of Geospatial Intelligence, said, "We are very proud of our decade long relationship with exactEarth, which represents the ‘best of breed’ space-based technology for vessel detection."

S-AIS was initially designed to prevent ships at sea from colliding by enabling them to locate other nearby ships. With the advances in technology and miniaturisation, an increasing number of fishing vessels now have this capacity and are broadcasting their transit and activity details.

This system enables fishing vessels to ensure safety of their crew whilst also providing FFA’s members with a useful additional source of monitoring and compliance data.

FFA’s director of fisheries operations division, Allan Rahari, welcomed the continuing partnership, saying, "Forum Fisheries Agency appreciates the additional texture that exactEarth provides in our maritime surveillance. 

A key role of FFA is to co-ordinate the essential surveillance support to its member countries. One of the challenges faced by the FFA is the increase in vessels that attempt to obfuscate their true position or activity. FFA has been using exactEarth’s S-AIS system to complement their regional Vessel Monitoring System in detecting vessels that have attempted to remain “dark” and unco-operative.

"The AIS feed complements FFA’s own fishing-focused Vessel Monitoring System, enabling us to actively monitor activity in the region. ExactEarth supports the FFA to develop a comprehensive regional picture, and to provide a better service to our Members," Rahari added. 

Fortunately, the 60+ platforms in the exactEarth constellation, in partnership with Harris Corporation, can accurately detect the true location of these vessels who are attempting to “spoof” the authorities.

With the ability to locate over 260,000+ ships globally, and view historical and real-time information transmitted from these vessels, FFA are able to continue delivering timely operational intelligence to support its members monitoring activities. 

Geospatial Intelligence, is an Australian company, and has been providing geospatial solutions to public and private sector customers since its inception in 2002. It supplies clients with an integrated set of geospatial solutions across maritime domain awareness, geospatial information systems, S-AIS, satellite imagery supply and analysis, consulting, training and knowledge transfer services. 

ExactEarth is a leading provider of global maritime vessel data for ship tracking and maritime situational awareness solutions.

Since its establishment in 2009, exactEarth has pioneered a powerful new method of maritime surveillance called S-AIS. This service provides a comprehensive view of the location of AIS-equipped maritime vessels throughout the world, as well as other vital vessel characteristics.

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