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Albatrosses wearing radar have found that 26 percent of local ships and 37 percent in international waters are hiding from observation. The Crozet Islands are a French nature conservancy that’s host to unique wildlife and a lot of scientific research. Fishing boats with illegally switched-off radar are likely engaged in illegal fishing behaviors like poaching. Scientists have attached radar detectors to seabirds in the Indian Ocean, and the birds have unearthed shocking statistics about illegal fishing. Researchers working in the far south of the Indian Ocean attached radar devices to 169 local albatrosses, who they then monitored for six months. Albatrosses are naturally drawn to fishing boats and can see them from almost 20 miles away, making them de facto living radar detectors equipped in turn with the real thing. The scientists based their research in the Crozet Islands , a distant part of the French overseas empire and fully designated as a nature conservancy. They’re below the Antarctic Circle, just 1,500 miles from Antarctica and 1,500 miles away from the nearest inhabited land mass of Madagascar. Isolated islands are a great place to study the exact technology these scientists wanted to monitor: the radar-based automatic identification system (AIS), […]

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