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A.I. Helped Uncover Chinese Boats Hiding in North Korean Waters

Earlier today, a study published in the journal Science Advances describes how researchers used artificial intelligence to discover over 900 ships of Chinese origin docked in North Korean waters. The massive fleets of Chinese fishing boats have been potentially illegally operating in North Korean waters with tracking systems halted. The operation was exposed through the use of different technologies including AI, radar, and satellite data.

In 2017, there were over 900 vessels and in 2018 over 700 were identified. The boats likely caught more than 160,000 metric tons, which is nearly half of a billion dollars’ worth, of Pacific flying squid over the two-year span. This may violate UN sanctions that prohibit North Korea from foreign fishing after a series of ballistic missile tests in 2017. Illegal fishing can jeopardize food security for legitimate fishers as well as threaten fish stocks and marine ecosystems. Researchers from South Korea, the US, Japan, and Australia worked together to use different tech to piece together information about the fleets.

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