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How Fish-Recognition Tech Is Assisting Demand for Canned Tuna

  • Covid rules push cameras and AI to replace human monitors
  • Vessels install equipment as consumers respond to over-fishing
Unloading frozen yellowfin tuna in Victoria, the Seychelles.
Unloading frozen yellowfin tuna in Victoria, the Seychelles.Photographer: Jason Houston via The Nature Conservancy
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The pandemic is forcing marine protection observers to adopt technology that monitors fishing boats remotely instead of getting on the vessels and risking infection.

Commercial fishing fleets are facing a jump in demand for canned tuna, but the coronavirus outbreak has prevented industry watchdogs and environmental groups from sending people onto boats to monitor whether the catches are sustainable. Traditionally, those observers spend months on vessels collecting data and watching for illegal activity.