The visible infrared imaging radiometer suite, or VIIRS, is a satellite-based highly sensitive optical sensor to see lights at day and night. The sensor is highly sensitive so that it can detect light emitted by vessels on the ocean at night. The Earth Observation Group (EOG) at the Colorado School of Mines has developed an algorithm to detect vessels from the VIIRS and maintains the database of the detection, which is called the VIIRS Boat Detection (VBD). Although VBD is not restricted to fishing vessels, we can analyze the presence of fishing vessels that use light to attract catch, such as most industrial squid vessels and some types of purse seines.
Through a partnership with the Earth Observation Group, we are incorporating this database into our portals to supplement vessel tracking data—more than 85 percent of the fishing vessels in the VIIRS database do not broadcast AIS or publicly shared VMS.