AFMA subscribes to Starboard

News · 09 February 2022

New Zealand space tech start-up enters the Australian market

New Zealand based space technology start-up Xerra Earth Observation Institute launched Starboard® Maritime Intelligence in mid 2021 and has recently secured its first international contract with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

AFMA are using Starboard in their work to target illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in regions of Australian intelligence interest. AFMA had been trialling 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.

Heather Deacon, Business Development Manager for Starboard says the team is “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” Deacon says.

AFMA Fisheries Officers undertake regular inspections of fishing vessels as part of their monitoring, control and surveillance. Source: Australian Fisheries Management Authority

As the use of Starboard continues to expand, the team’s aim to provide a common operating picture for maritime domain awareness is being realised.

“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” adds Deacon. “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.”

Starboard supports governments, border security teams, NGOs, and fisheries organisations to navigate the vast amounts of maritime data available from satellite sensors – including around 35 million ship positions every day – and focus on the vessels that matter to them.

More about Starboard Maritime Intelligence

Starboard tackles complex maritime domain awareness challenges, ranging from detecting illegal fishing and risk assessing arriving vessels to validating vessel movements and uncovering non-reporting dark vessels.

Xerra and Starboard have been established with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Learn more about Starboard.