Detecting Illegal Fishing Activity with Acoustic Technology: Passive acoustic methods help USCG fight illegal fishing

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a worldwide problem estimated to cost the global fishing industry billions of dollars per year. The United States Coast Guard plays a key role in protecting the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and key areas of the high seas against this plague. One promising method of monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) is passive acoustic technologies. Utilizing this technology, the Stevens Institute of Technology has developed the Stevens Passive Acoustic Detection System (SPADES). SPADES consists of two—or potentially more—moorings, each of which has four highly sensitive wideband hydrophones deployed on a collapsible frame. A data acquisition system that captures the signals with a frequency content up to 100 kHz is installed at the center of the mooring. SPADES can detect, track, and classify surface vessels. Stevens also developed and built the Portable Acoustic Recorder System (PARS), which is designed to digitally record precisely time-stamped signals acquired by interchangeable sensors, like hydrophones or microphones. The advantage of these systems is that they are relatively low in cost and are simple to use. The disadvantages include potential for theft and concerns about false positive detections. Further development work is necessary to prove the concept of automated methods of vessel detection, tracking, and classification so that IUU fishing can be alleviated.


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  • Accession Number: 01676635
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 26 2018 2:42PM