Fisheries & Aquaculture News

A Good Practices Guide for Applying Artificial Intelligence in the Fisheries Sector

  • At the request of the European Parliament, the AZTI technology centre, in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies "Salvador de Madariaga" (IUEE) of the University of A Coruña and at the request of the European Parliament, has produced a report on legislative keys for the use of artificial intelligence in fishery activities, based on the new proposal for the European Union's Artificial Intelligence Act.
  • The document highlights how artificial intelligence can help deal with challenges associated with the sustainability of the fisheries sector and provides recommendations for the appropriate use of artificial intelligence systems.
  • Representatives of both organisations presented the guide to the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee yesterday.

Artificial intelligence has a daily impact on the life and activities of people, companies and government agencies. However, it is feared that its use could be not only beneficial, but also invasive. For that reason, the European Commission proposed in 2021 the Artificial Intelligence ACT (AI Act), a pioneering new legal framework meant to regulate the use of such technologies in countries of the European Union, to pave the way to their safe and efficient implementation. Fisheries is one of the sectors that must accordingly take this new regulation into consideration. To provide its main actors with information about this new legal ecosystem, the AZTI technology centre and the IUEE, has at the request of the European Parliament led a report that will serve as a good practices guide for proper application of these technological solutions in the fishing industry.

The work presented yesterday by the AZTI and IUEE to the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries first reviewed the proporsed new legislation on artificial intelligence and its implications for the fisheries sector, also indicating the areas of fishing where it is most used at present as well as future prospects. “We explain the regulations and technology for people who are not experts, whereby the document may be of interest for anyone who wants to know more about AI and the new legislation, even if they do not have much technical knowledge,” explains Dr. Jose A. Fernandes, an AZTI expert on artificial intelligence and coordinator of the study.

The report particularly highlights how the use of this technology can bring benefits to the sector and help it face the challenges associated to sustainability, while safeguarding the rights and physical integrity of people. “For the fisheries sector it is a good compilation of the state of the art and of middle and long term expectations, helping discern opportunities for improvement of fishing activities,” Dr. Fernandes adds.

Applications and recommendations

The analysis produced by AZTI and the IUEE lists potential applications of artificial intelligence techniques that could currently be used in the fisheries sector, from the processing of biological samples to improved energy efficiency of fishing boats, along with the classification of catches by species and size, among others.

The report also provides a list of policy action recommendations for the proper use of AI systems in the fisheries sector.

Some suggestions that stand out in the study concern the modification of AI legislation proposals to include specific mentions of the fisheries sector and the promotion of talent.

“Fisheries experts with interdisciplinary training and artificial intelligence skills are needed, to help such people find employment opportunities in private enterprise and attract them through information programmes and incentives in line with their capacities,” the AZTI researcher stresses.

The document also sets out recommendations associated to trust, such as the design of security protocols to ensure the anonymity of private information, the development of good AI practices and standards, and regulation of the technology suppliers’ role, assuring a certain degree of experience in the industry to prevent the development of untrustworthy and unsuitable intelligence systems.

Another recommendation of the AZTI report concerns collaboration among interested parties through financing programmes, specialized centres, multidisciplinary networks or the development of AI good practice guidelines in fisheries. It shows that technological research and digitalization of vessels are keys to driving the integration of artificial intelligence in fishing gear and strategies.

Financed by the European Parliament, this report was led by AZTI expert personnel and counted the collaboration of legal experts from the IUEE.

The report can be downloaded here.

About AZTI

AZTI is a science and technology centre that develops high impact transformation projects with organizations in line with the 2030 SDGs of the United Nations. Its aim is to encourage positive change for people’s future, helping achieve a healthy, sustainable and inclusive society. Specializing in the marine environment and food, it contributes ground-breaking added-value technologies and products based on solid science and research. AZTI counts 40 years of experience, a presence in 45 countries, three offices in the Basque Country and a team of more than 290 people. Its long track record is attested by more than 1500 indexed publications and excellence grounded in its research personnel, of whom 60% hold doctorate degrees. AZTI is a member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA) formed by four collaborative research centres and twelve technology centres, which aims to foster cooperation between its organizations and enhance the conditions for generating and transmitting knowledge to companies, helping boost their competitiveness, invigorating the industrial fabric and projecting Basque science and technology capabilities in the outside world.

More information here.


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