How DigitalGlobe is helping people “see better oceans”

Did you know that about 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water? That’s why the work performed by DigitalGlobe Marine Services—which enables government agencies and commercial fishing organizations to unlock critical information about our changing oceans—is so important.

The fishing industry is critical to our global economy and food supply. Worldwide, fishing is estimated to be worth more than $130 billion per year. Over 160 million people are employed in the fishing industry, while more than 3 billion people globally depend on fish for essential nutrition.

DigitalGlobe Marine Services’ mission is to enable sustainable commercial fishing and ensure healthy marine ecosystems in the face of many challenges, including overfishing and illegal fishing. Here’s how we are delivering against our mission around the globe every day.

Making commercial fishers more efficient.

Making commercial fishers more efficient.

The total surface area of the world’s oceans is about 362 million km2. We help Purse Seiners, trawlers, longliners and sport fishermen globally to find fish faster and efficiently across this vast ocean. Our SeaStar Ocean Information Services provides them insights extracted from oceanographic big data to help identify specific areas to fish and assess area conditions. The economic benefit is that we help commercial fishers realize more productive fishing expeditions. The environmental and ecological benefit is that we minimize the carbon footprint associated with excursions by optimizing the number and length of excursions and the associated fuel consumption required to achieve sustainable fishing targets. We also enable transparency against over fishing by providing fish tracking tools that allow fishers to easily report daily catches and demonstrate that they fall within legal limits.

Preventing Illegal, unreported and unauthorized (IUU) fishing.

Preventing Illegal, unreported and unauthorized (IUU) fishing.

The global impact of IUU fishing is estimated to be over $23 billion each year, with disproportionate impacts on the economies of developing countries. It’s also estimated that tens of thousands of men each year are held captive on fishing boats particularly in South East Asia, working 20 hour days, serving as slave laborers. Transshipments (when fishing vessels offload catch to a refrigerated vessel at sea) are strongly associated with illegal fishing patterns. Our Seastar Information Services can help maritime enforcement agencies to monitor IUU activity and tip and cue our satellite imagery constellation to collect visual evidence of illegal transshipments. Our capability recently enabled a Pulitzer Prizing-wining AP’s investigation on slave fishing which led to the release for 2,000 men held captive on fishing boats across Southeast Asia. We’ve also partnered with Skytruth on initiatives to systematically and reliably track and capture transshipment behavior.

Protecting marine ecosystems. Protecting marine ecosystems.

Our oceans face many threats, from pollution to oil and gas spills to climate change to toxic algae. One threat DigitalGlobe has been focused on recently is the threat of Harmful Algal Blooms, also known as Red Tides. They produce toxins that grow excessively and harm marine ecosystems, people and economies. DigitalGlobe had developed a technique to help aquaculture farms globally monitor the emergence of Red Tides in near-real time through the applications of detection algorithms to oceanographic big data.

 

If you or your organization are interested in learning more about how DigitalGlobe Marine Services is helping to protect our oceans, please contact me at Andre.Kearns@digitalglobe.com.