SUSHEE, is an Android and web application designed to provide law enforcement officials with centralized access to data about fishing vessels. SUSHEE is short for "Scraping Unsearchable Sources to Halt Environmental Exploitation", which was inspired by the chaotic state of fishing vessel data across dozens of databases.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is an issue for the entire world. Ecosystems are falling apart because of overfishing, and regulation laws are weak, as there is no standardized way of getting the licenses and permits attached to a vessel and its owner. Various websites have tried to fill this gap by providing bits and pieces of information, but there is not a single website that is all encompassing. SUSHEE is meant to agglomerate data from every available source, sanitize it, and put it in a readable format.
Working with, and sculpting data that was not in a standard format was extremely difficult. In order to work around it, we had to decide what was most relevant, and work with the available data. Often times websites would have outdated or duplicate data. In the case of discrepancy, we identified vessel metrics, such as length and tonnage, as well as the year the vessel was built, as the most reliable sources of identifying duplicates. By displaying these fields for all unverified data, the user has the tools necessary to select the option that would make the most sense. Both the Android App, and the Web App provide simple and advanced search fields giving the user full control over to find what they are looking for.
What We Learned
Vessels and fishing are astoundingly unregulated. There is no universal way to see if a vessel is legally able to fish for certain species of fish. Certain countries even have their own standards to regulate boats, and as such, fishing vessels from other countries sometimes will not carry universal standards because they abide by their own country's standards. Without an enforced universal standard everywhere, before soon, it could become nearly impossible to regulate fishing and stop overfishing. Officials and engineers should make establishing a centralized and accessible international fishing vessel database a top priority.