More than a third of the world’s coastal states will now have access to satellite data and expertise provided by Norway as a tool to uncover fisheries crime.
‘This is cross-border organised economic crime,’ commented Norway’s Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bjørnar Skjæran.
‘Fishing crime threatens the ecosystems and sustainability of the sea, and deprives local communities of jobs and assets. The fight against illegal fishing is very important for a large maritime nation like Norway. That is why we are sharing Norwegian technology and expertise with many other countries to overcome the problem.’
Norway shares AIS data from Norwegian satellites with all the countries participating in the Blue Justice Community. The countries receive this information free of charge, enabling them to conduct their own analyses to detect fisheries crime. They can also get free assistance from the Norwegian tracking unit in Vardø, which is staffed with analysts from the Norwegian Coastal Administration and the Directorate of Fisheries.
Norway has several microsatellites in orbit around the Earth and new ones are under development. Each year, the Norwegian satellites collect approximately two AIS billion tracking signals from around the world.
Collaboration is to be conducted through the international vessel tracking centre established in Vardø in 2021, and through a digital platform developed in Norway and administered by the UN through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has offices in Oslo. The digital platform will ensure secure state-to-state cooperation against fisheries crime.
‘Fighting fishing crime is important for developing sustainable and fair maritime economies in developing countries, and tracking fishing vessels can become an absolutely crucial tool for these countries,’ Development Minister Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.
The new ocean monitoring program has been developed by the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s BarentsWatch and the Norwegian Space Centre.
Norway has long been a significant player in the joint international effort against fishing crime, and is already financing a project against fishing crime that is part of the UN’s development programme. The Blue Justice Community is expected to become an important contribution to this work.
‘Norway, and not least the Nordic region, is a region that has a lot to offer the global south. What is unique about the Norwegian initiative is to combine solid government expertise with digitization and sharing of data. This is absolutely essential for the UN in our work to achieve the sustainability goals,’ said Ulrika Modeér, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Office for External Relations.