Mongabay Reports: Spies in the sky, albatrosses alert authorities to illegal fishing


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Can an albatross detect illegal fishing vessels? Findings from published research say yes: over the course of six-months, 169 albatrosses fitted with radar-detecting trackers covered 47 million square kilometers of the southern Indian Ocean found radar signals from 353 ships.

Many of these vessels had no AIS signal, which is an indicator that a ship has switched it off in an attempt to remain hidden, but little did they know that the albatrosses revealed them.

Science journalist Shreya Dasgupta reported on the study for Mongabay in 2020, here:

Any illegal fishing going on around here? Ask an albatross

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Episode Artwork: A wandering albatross chick on its nest on Possession Island in the Crozet archipelago of the southern Indian Ocean. The species is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Image by Alain Ricci via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

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