Leonardo DiCaprio Funds Major Technology to Help Spy on Global Illegal Fishing Practices

leonardo_dicaprioLeonardo DiCaprio may be a celebrated Hollywood actor, but on Thursday he unveiled new technology that allows for all users to spy on global fishing practices. The effort, he says, is to help curb illegal activity across the world’s oceans. This technology is called Global Fishing Watch, and DiCaprio says it will be free to the public after officially releasing at during the Our Oceans Conference, which was hosted by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, on Thursday.

More specifically, the technology uses crowd sourcing practices to attempt at solving the global illegal fishing problem. Unfortunately, these practices make up about 35 percent of the global wild marine catch, resulting in approximately $23.5 billion in losses, says the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.

The technology combines radar on boards with satellite technology to let people zero in on specific areas of interest around the planet. It allows for the tracing of the paths of 35,000 commercial fishing vessels populating the world’s oceans.

John Amos is the president and founder of SkyTruth, which is one of three partners working on this project; the other two companies are Google and Oceana. Amos says that this technology will allow for the public to have more opportunity to see exactly what is happening in the commercial fishing industry, even in the furthest reaches of the ocean.

Amos also goes on to say, “We need the public to be engaged to convince governments and convince the seafood industry that they need to solve the problems of overfishing.”

He also tells, “If you can’t see it and can’t measure it, you are not going to care about it and it is not going to get solved.”
So far, the project has cost more than ten million dollars, taking more than three years to construct. DiCaprio has contributed $6 million of these funds through his foundation.

Oceana Global Fishing Watch vice president Jacqueline Savitz explains that this project aims to provide the most powerful tool for the rebuilding of fish stocks and to protect the oceans that are currently threatened by global overfishing, illegal fishing practices, and through habitat destruction.

She says, “Global Fishing Watch will revolutionise the way the world views commercial fishing.”
Amos also adds: “Now, in the hands of everyone, this free tool can be used by governments, journalists, citizens, researchers and the seafood industry. It will allow governments to track suspicious vessels, enforce rules and reduce seafood fraud.”