Data on illegal fishers helps predict poaching in marine reserves

By on November 26, 2014

Conservation scientists have tracked illegal fishing data for several years and are now able to predict when and where illegal fishing activity is likely to occur, according to a release from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies.

Using five years’ worth of data from Cocos Island National Park off the coast of Costa Rica, the researchers noticed there were certain specific fishing spots clearly preferred by illegal fishers, and that fishing in these areas dramatically increased depending on both the month and the phase of the moon.

That makes it easier to catch illegal fishers in the act or discourage them from fishing illegally in the first place. That’s especially important in large areas like marine reserves where fishing is banned and the sheer size of the area makes it difficult to patrol and enforce fishing law.

Top image: Fishing boat. (Credit: VladUK, via WikiMedia Commons/CC BY 2.0)

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