Monday, July 15, 2024

NZ space tech start-up dives into Australian market

New Zealand space technology start-up, Xerra Earth Observation Institute, has secured its first international contract with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

AFMA is using the Institute’s Starboard™ Maritime Intelligence – launched in mid 2021 – in their work to target illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in regions of Australian intelligence interest.

AFMA trialled the use of Starboard during 2021 and has now signed on for a one-year contract.

Starboard uses satellite data and advanced analytics models to track vessel behaviours including identifying when vessels are fishing or when vessels meet at sea to tranship fish, or exchange fuel, crew or supplies.

Business Development Manager for Starboard, Heather Deacon says the team was “thrilled” at the extension of Starboard into its first overseas market.

“We’ve been really impressed by the international collaborations and cross regional cooperation in the complex fight against IUU fishing,” she says.

“It was really exciting to learn that Starboard was used as part of a trial during Operation Kurukuru, one of the largest fisheries surveillance operations in the world.”

Operation Kurukuru ran for 12 days in October 2021 and involved 17 Pacific nations including Australia and New Zealand.

The Starboard team includes remote sensing and data scientists who are using vessel tracking data to develop risk models. These are displayed in the Starboard platform and help analysts to focus on high risk activities and vessels. One of these is an epidemiologically-based model that assesses the relative risk of a vessel for COVID-19.

“This was initially designed to help manage arrivals at the New Zealand border but in our collaboration with AFMA we have learnt that this model is being used to keep fisheries officers safe when they are boarding fishing vessels for inspections,” Ms Deacon says.

“It is through these kinds of collaborations and cross functionality where we can see real potential for Starboard to offer something new in fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance.

“We are reducing the time our users spend on data gathering and enabling them to share their expertise more readily making compliance and inspection activity more effective.”

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