AI and Satellites Uncover Hidden World: 75% of Fishing Boats Operate Stealthily in ‘Ghost Fleets’ Reveals Study

Whoa, some seriously shifty business has been going down on the high seas! AI and satellites just exposed that 3/4 of fishing boats are completely off the radar. Let’s dive in (pun intended).

The ocean is crazy important for food and jobs, with over a billion people relying on seafood. But a ton of maritime activity is in “dark” zones invisible to monitoring. Shady!

A new study used AI to analyze five years of satellite images covering 15% of the ocean. What they discovered is mind-blowing – 75% of fishing vessels are totally untracked “ghost fleets” plundering the seas in secret! Even 25% of transport ships cruise under the radar.

Asia dominates this covert fishing, with 7 ghost ships for every 1 in Europe. Yet public data makes them seem equal. The study paints a way more accurate picture of unchecked industrial activity than officials realize.

And get this – fishing dropped 12% during COVID, but is still below pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile transport and energy barely blinked. Oh, and offshore wind turbines now outnumber oil rigs! The blue economy is shifting fast.

Mapping emissions revealed how ship and offshore actions contribute to climate change. The data can shape policies to reduce impacts. But industrialization has already degraded oceans, with 1/3 of fisheries unsustainable.

Lead researcher Jennifer Raynor called the activity map eye-opening. It quantifies vessels we didn’t even know were out there! No wonder fish stocks are struggling with all these ghost fleets running rampant.

Bottom line – this study exposes an enormous unseen world beyond the shoreline. AI and satellites pierced the veil on shifty maritime industries operating in the shadows. Here’s hoping it leads to stronger ocean protections before our seas are emptied! No more ghosts in the water.