Conserving Our Oceans through ‘Sea Scout'

President Obama announces initiative to identify potentially illegal activities at sea

a fishing boat at sea

In another critical step to protect oceans and conserve marine ecosystems, President Obama announced the development of a new global initiative that will combat the global threat of illegal fishing and focus on fisheries enforcement at sea.

The initiative—named ‘Sea Scout’—was announced at the ‘Our Oceans’ conference in Valparaiso, Chile, and will help identify regional “hot-spots” where illegal fishing is known to be a challenge. Through existing and new technologies, internet-based tools, coordination, information sharing, and capacity building, the US government and partners can enforce areas facing the most critical threat. A Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) tool was also showcased; this tool detects the position and routes of fishing vessels through space-based sensors that detect lights from boats fishing at night. With this information, inspectors can target for potentially illegal activities.

President Obama also shared news of the declaration of two new marine sanctuaries in Maryland and Wisconsin that will conserve a total 900 square miles of of marine and tidal waters of ecological and local importance, for both people and wildlife.

A global unified approach to combating black market fishing will help address the single biggest threat to sustainable fisheries. More than 90 percent of the seafood in the US is imported from more than 130 countries, and up to $23 billion in losses globally come from illegal fishing each year. WWF is working with many partners to help be part of the solution. In addition to providing technical input, gathering and sharing expertise from across sectors, and helping to raise a public voice on this crucial ocean issue, WWF aims to help stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

Take a Stand Against Illegal Fishing: Help us ensure the fish you buy is caught responsibly from our world’s oceans.