At World Ocean Summit held in Abu Dhabi last week, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced the launch of its Smart Boat Initiative; designed to accelerate the exploration and adoption of powerful new technologies to greatly improve sustainability, efficiency, transparency and profitability in the fishing sector across the globe.
Although the digital revolution is transforming nearly every sector, it has largely left the fishing industry – currently experiencing a crisis of overfishing – in the dark.
The new initiative from EDF hopes to address this issue, which could see severe repercussions for 3 billion people worldwide who rely on seafood as a major source of protein, by leveraging technological advances; sensors, AI, broadband communication and data analytics.
“Just as smart phones provided a platform for a wave of innovation, we believe there is an equally unprecedented opportunity to usher in a new era of sustainability in the global fishing sector led by digital transformation,” said Katie McGinty, Senior Vice President, EDF Oceans program.
With even some the most advanced fisheries still collecting data onboard with a piece of paper and a pen, EDF says its initiatives goal is to demonstrate the transformative power of technology with on-the-water pilot projects, scientific inquiries, and policy advances across a variety of fishery types and scales.
As part of the Smart Boat Initiative, EDF Oceans also released two new guides on how to implement electronic monitoring technology, as well as the results from recent pilot projects on the U.S. West Coast and in Mexico’s Gulf of California.