EAMNet fellow continues collaboration through new project
Dr Kwame Adu Agyekum, an EAMNet fellow and researcher from the ECOWAS Marine Centre, has visited Plymouth Marine Laboratory during the first week of February 2017, as part of the Integrated Service for Surveillance of Illegal, Unlicensed and Unreported Fishing (InSUre) project. His involvement, as a co-Investigator in the project, demonstrates the legacy of EAMNet as a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange, and most importantly in developing scientific research and outputs to provide real impact in developing countries.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is the Regional implementation centre for the monitoring of coastal and marine resources management. It is responsible for coordinating activities that utilize earth observation data to help manage fisheries resources, including in the Gulf of Guinea, which has one of the highest rates of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the world. Through the InSUre project, ECOWAS will work with PML to fill the information and technological gap that exists in monitoring fishing vessels in this area, supporting fisheries management and improving the economic efficiency of the local fishing industry.
As a co-investigator on the project, Kwame is working with PML researchers to develop a service for monitoring fishing vessels in near real-time using Earth Observation data. During his visit to PML he has worked on developing algorithms and software for integration of ship detection data with information provided by the Automatic Identification System (AIS), an automatic tracking system used for collision avoidance. This involves searching for ships identified in satellite images but not reported by AIS. Solving this task will allow the service to automatically identify registered vessels and to flag the vessels suspected of illegal fishing activity.
Kwame’s visit ensured he had access to more satellite data than would have been possible at his university due to limited internet speeds, introduced him to PML data processing and visualisation tools and provided an excellent opportunity for him and PML colleagues to exchange ideas on how the service can be developed going forward.