RADARSAT-2 imagery of fishing boats

Dark vessel detection missions

Tackling the global challenge of illegal fishing MDA Space is active every day in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, providing near real-time monitoring, data and insight of fishing activity to nations around the world. In collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, we are harnessing the power of geospatial technology, including our RADARSAT-2 satellite and Maritime Insights platform, to help protect the world's oceans, preserve marine ecosystems and secure the food supply for coastal nations.

RADARSAT-2 imagery of fishing boats

No signal. No problem.

Illegal fishing practices remain a pervasive issue, causing extensive harm to the world's oceans and economies and posing severe threat to marine environments, local farmers and fishers, and international food security. 

Dark vessels in particular present a major challenge. These rogue vessels operate without proper identification systems, making them nearly impossible to track using conventional means. Their actions often occur under the cover of darkness or in restricted waters, further complicating illegal fishing detection efforts. 

Uniting forces against illegal fishing

MDA Space Dark Vessel Detection (DVD) integrates data from multiple satellite missions, including RADARSAT-2, along with space-based radio frequency collection and geo-spectrum analysis to assist in locating vessels involved in illegal fishing. 

Our advanced analytics, multi-sensor data fusion platform and expertise in maritime domain awareness help reinforce international efforts to combat the challenges facing our oceans and environment.

Protecting ocean ecosystems

Since 2021, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and MDA Space have deployed our DVD platform to support the Government of Ecuador’s efforts to monitor IUU fishing around the Galapagos Islands. 

In addition, the DVD platform provides crucial support in the detection and tracking of illegal fishing throughout the Indo-Pacific region. This international collaboration reinforces the commitment to preserving our oceans, safeguarding marine ecosystems and ensuring food security for coastal communities worldwide.