Small-scale fishermen turn to apps and AI to tackle climate change


Since 2007, Taiwan has mandated that all small-scale fishermen use global positioning system (GPS) devices – that give a vessel’s location every three minutes – with the data collected and analysed along with reports on fish catches, gear used, and auctions.

The data and monitoring gives insight into assessing fishery conditions, fisheries livelihoods and food security, and helps shape government policy.

The system was also used in 2016 to estimate loss of earnings and allocate reparations to fishermen after an oil spill.

“This year, the device has been rather helpful in assessing fishery conditions and for offshore wind power farms – trying to find a balance between the environmental protection, fishing ground, and power industries,” said William Hsu, associate professor at the National Taiwan Ocean University, which helped with the project.

To alleviate privacy concerns, the government gave assurances that the data would be kept private unless ordered by a court and instigated fuel subsidies as an incentive for users.


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