New weapon in the fight against poaching

Punta Arenas,Chile.King Harald.Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Brand new Norwegian satellite antennas in Chile will be used to reveal illegal fishing. On Saturday they were launched by King Harald.

In strong winds, on Saturday the royal couple took to the plain outside Punta Arenas south of Chile, where the Norwegian-owned company, KSAT, have built a new station.

Marine monitoring

By pressing a small green button, the king set into operation the machinery to be used to retrieve information from satellites.

‘’Mainly, the drive should be used for earth observation and communication. It also retrieves data from radar satellites, which also allows one to see even if it is dark and when there are clouds. This is very suitable for marine surveillance and can be used to monitor boats and oil spills’’ said director, Rolf Skatteboe of KSAT (Kongsberg Satellite Services). The company is half owned by Kongsberg Defense and half owned by Space Norway.

Skatteboe presented a satellite image and explained how the system is used to reveal illegal fishing. He showed an area off the coast on the border between Peru and Chile.

‘’Here we see the boats. They become bright dots in the picture. This is put together with other information. All boats must have the automatic AIS identification system, which states where they are located. If a boat appears on the satellite image but does not have the AIS, it becomes a red dot. Otherwise, it would turn green.

Fight against poaching

If a boat is far from the shore without the AIS, it may indicate that it has something to hide.

Thus, the Coast Guard can move out and board the ships to inspect them. In this way, the satellite system makes it harder for poachers.

‘’The system is used by the authorities in many countries’’ said Skatteboe.

The royal couple are on a six-day long state visit that ends on Sunday with a visit to the world’s southernmost city, Puerto Williams.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today