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Photo by UNDP Mauritius

Authorities in Mauritius will begin combatting illegal fishing with satellite technology thanks to a partnership between the University of Surrey and the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC).

Photo by UNDP Mauritius

The Nereus project combines satellite images with other ship location data. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect anomalies, spotting ships of interest and working out where they are headed. Authorities can then check whether illegal fishing is taking place.

"Catching vessels illegally fishing off an island such as Mauritius can be like finding a needle in a haystack. With our expertise in satellite data, we’ve been able to find a solution that identifies areas more at risk and supports the detection of suspicious behaviours at sea. This is an exciting milestone in this rewarding project – and we’re looking forward to seeing how our partners in Mauritius use it to protect their precious marine environment." Dr. Raffaella Guida, Reader in Satellite Remote Sensing

 

Photo by Surrey Space Centre/ MRIC

Nereus, funded by the UN Development Programme’s UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge, is a potent addition to Mauritius’s tools for detecting illegal maritime activity. It offers the chance to detect it in near-real time.  

As the project nears completion, it will be celebrated at Mauritius’ first International Space Symposium on 18 April.  

Photo by Surrey Space Centre/ MRIC

 

"Three years after Mauritius launched its first satellite, we are proud to deploy our first downstream application of satellite data through Nereus. This is a concrete example of how space technology research can help us in addressing challenges we face as a small island developing state. Mauritius is ideally located, connected and equipped to build a thriving space sector. We’re looking forward to a bright future of extra-terrestrial exploration.”  Dr Vickram Bissonauth, Director of Research at the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council

 

"Illegal fishing is a multifaceted threat impacting economies, livelihoods, and nature. UNDP supports frontline solutions and working with Mauritius through the Surrey Space Centre and MRIC allowed us to use the transformative power of technology and develop vital tools to combat this issue. Nereus brings new hope to the fight against illegal fishing." Dr Mary Matthews, Water Lead, UNDP

 

Article was originally published at surrey.ac.uk