Estimates indicates that 20% of all hauled fish globally are caught illegally. This happens through the use of banned equipment, fishing in restricted areas or subverting quotas and seasonal limits. This fish is shipped around the world and sold to existing markets, where most buyers have no idea that the food they are purchasing is in fact stolen goods.
Live video and feed
Nordic Unmanned provides governmental customers with valuable data during fishery inspections. Before and during fishery inspections we provide live video and imagery of fishing vessels subject for inspection. The drone is usually placed in position before the inspection vessel calls the fishing vessel, enabling the inspection vessel to observe how the fishing vessel and crew reacts when they are warned about the boarding inspection. A powerful payload with 30x optical zoom also enables the fishery inspector to evaluate fish type and net size of visible. In many countries it is a requirement for fishery control officers to establish ‘probable cause’ prior to conducting certain searches, seizures and arrests. This means that they must have reasonable belief in certain alleged facts and should be more than just suspicious.
Value of drone surveillance
To establish probable cause it is not necessary that a fishery control officer possess knowledge of facts sufficient to establish guilt but more than suspicion is required. Despite its accuracy, a vessel position even though it may indicate a clear violation of the limits of a fishing prohibited area it does not provide adequate information to determine the nature of the suspicious activity. The value of drone surveillance as a prosecution tool is not as absolute evidence of illegal fishing,but firstly as a tool to direct limited resources to search and inspect vessel behaving in a pattern that would indicate fishing and secondly as corroborating evidence. While drone data alone is not evidence to warrant a conviction, it may be of assistance in establishing a preponderance of evidence in combination with other first-hand information.