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Sustainable fisheries

Our research has provided the backbone for the transformation of Australian fisheries, from understanding fish biology, movements and ecosystems, to developing standard approaches for fisheries assessment and ecosystem-based management.

Read the case studies about our achievements in sustainable fisheries include world-leading scientific tools and ecosystem models, management strategies, large-scale sampling and application of advanced technologies.


How we're combating illegal fishing

We are helping to address illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU) by making better use of existing data and identifying new low-cost information sources.

This includes developing surveillance technological solutions, building analytical tools and working with national and international collaborative partners.

Read more about our research:

Marine monitoring and surveillance

Building capacity in Indonesia

Utilising Artificial Intelligence to detect illegal fishing

Visit our research hub

[Image appears of Dr Chris Wilcox talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Chris Wilcox, Senior Research Scientist]


Dr Chris Wilcox:  Illegal fishing is the third most lucrative international crime behind weapons running and drug smuggling.  It affects about a third of the fish in the market and the livelihoods of 120 million people worldwide.  So, it’s a major problem. 


[Image changes to show a harbour full of small fishing boats]


There are tens of thousands of fishing vessels, even if you only think about the really big ones around the world


[Image changes to show Asian women squatting on the ground and sorting fish into baskets]


and hundreds of thousands of little ones. 


[Image changes to show Maritime Police walking along the side of a ship and past the camera]


And so, deciding which vessels to look at, where to send the Maritime Police or Fisheries Inspectors as all these vessels are bringing their catch in to port is a really difficult problem. 


[Image changes to show Dr Chris Wilcox talking to the camera and then the image changes to show a Fisheries Inspector climbing up a ramp on the wharf and past the camera]


What we developed was an automated system that basically takes all the data that’s available to Fisheries Managers and sifts through it to look through patterns.  The Fisheries Managers are actually limited in their capacity. 


[Image changes to show a rear view of a policeman looking at a fishing vessel]


So, they face expensive data and they face too much data


[Image changes to show a fishing net in the sea and then the image changes to show two fishing boats next to each other]


and so, we’re trying to develop statistical algorithms to help them get information from what they either have or could get cheaply. 


[Image changes to show women squatting on the ground cleaning fish]


We’re the leaders in this space at the moment in that sort of statistical application. 


[Image changes to show Dr Chris Wilcox talking to the camera]


Ultimately if we reduce the amount of illegal fishing, everyone from, you know someone in a remote community in the developing world fishing in a canoe, all the way through to a big industrial company that is part of Australia’s economy benefits from less illegal fishing.  And obviously it makes the jobs of Fisheries Managers and other people involved in regulating this system much easier. 


[Music plays and CSIRO logo and text appears: CSIRO Australia’s innovation catalyst]




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