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Chinese ‘Dark Fleets’ Illegally Fishing In North Korean Waters

“Chinese “dark fleets” illegally fished a $440 million haul of the squid species Todarodes pacificus in North Korean waters during 2017 and 2018, according to a study published today in the journal Science Advances.

The study used a novel set of satellite images to track fishing vessels operating off the northeast coast of the Korean peninsula, including satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR), visible infrared imaging radiometer suite sensors (VIIRS), high-resolution optical imagery, and identification beacon data from some of the vessels themselves. Its authors say that this is one of the first times those technologies have been combined to map illicit fishing at such a large scale over a years-long period.

“We believe that this study marks the beginning of a new era in fisheries management, transparency, and monitoring,” said Jaeyoon Park, senior data scientist at Global Fishing Watch and a co-lead author of the paper.”

Ashoka Mukpo reports for Mongabay July 22, 2020.