Big sea, bigger data: How analytics are making peace between fishermen and turtles

The ocean is complicated. Our tools to manage it are blunt. We often approach the ever-changing ocean as if it were a stationary valley in a national park. We close entire coastlines and restrict fisheries to protect single species. We’re flummoxed by wide-ranging mobile marine life and unprepared for climate change.

But a new generation of data-driven tools balances the needs of fish and fishermen and adapts automatically as the environment changes. With the government’s towering stockpiles of ocean data, scientists can use weather and ocean chemistry to predict where fishermen are likely to catch their intended targets, including swordfish or tuna, and avoid protected species, such as marine mammals, sharks or manta rays.

Author: Andrew Van Dam

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