• Data initiative sets sights on tackling global ocean challenges.
  • NOAA, Vulcan Skylight enter into a public-private partnership

Today, NOAA announced a new pilot program with Vulcan Inc. to utilize Skylight. A maritime intelligence tool developed to address Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.

Under this contractual agreement, Skylight will be used to provide data solutions that may help NOAA Fisheries and its partners identify potential IUU fishing activities.

IUU fishing is an internationally recognized problem that has far-reaching consequences for national security, global economies, and marine fisheries. In addition to helping to identify IUU fishing activities, this partnership calls for the development of potential approaches to increase the use of maritime domain awareness that supports the protection and conservation of North Atlantic right whales, an endangered large whale species with only about 400 remaining. Entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes are the leading causes of right whale mortality.

Skylight maritime intelligence tool

An analyst investigates a potential transshipment alert by Skylight. (Vulcan, Inc.)

Retired Navy Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator, said:
“NOAA scientists from across the country will work with the Vulcan team on the use of data systems to help tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our Blue Economy. When U.S. science and technology agencies and leading private sector firms work together, we can achieve great success in tackling real-world challenges while also fostering innovative approaches.”

Seattle-based Vulcan Inc. developed the Skylight system as part of its philanthropic ocean portfolio and is working with partners worldwide to tackle one of the leading drivers of ocean decline and a threat to a sustained food supply. Skylight leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to identify suspicious activity, cut through the noise, and help authorities focus on investigations and determine proper action.

Utilizing artificial intelligence is also an NOAA strategy to reduce data processing costs and provide higher quality and more scientific products and services for societal benefits.

Ted Schmitt, Principal Program Officer for Skylight said: “It is very gratifying to partner with organizations such as NOAA. Together, we can make a difference and create an impact on reducing IUU. Vulcan developed this maritime awareness tool as part of our philanthropic portfolio to specifically address one of the greatest drivers of ocean health decline. This pilot program with NOAA is a great example of how public-private partnerships can leverage technology to change that trajectory.”

NOAA and the Skylight team will spend the next 3 to 6 months, exploring additional opportunities that could potentially help augment how the agency addresses these marine resource issues.
NOAA has entered into numerous public-private partnerships, including with Caladan Oceanic, OceanX, Ocean Infinity, and Viking Cruises.

Source: Press Release
Date: September 17, 2020
Media contact
John Ewald, (240) 429-6127
Vulcan Inc. Press Office