FISHING BOATERS IN FLORIDA, who can fish under their own power and without a permit, are being spied on by Stingrays, federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
The Stingray is a high-tech surveillance device that captures video and audio of all of a boat’s onboard operations and can remotely control its behavior to determine if it’s fishing in the area, according to a statement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) requires countries to give fishermen the right to fishing under their sovereign control.
It’s unclear how the Stingray works, and the agency is still developing the technical specs of the device.
The U.K.-based Royal Australian Sea Shepherd, which is spearheading the stingray project, said it plans to test the device on the waters off the southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The device, which costs around $1,000, has been deployed in Australia in recent years and has been used in fishing disputes, including a legal dispute between the Great Barrier and the government of Papua New Guinea.
The agency is also investigating whether Stingrays could be used to target boats, said U.A.E. spokesman Tim Jones.
He said the agency has no information to show the devices can be used on boats in other countries, but it is investigating.
The Royal Australian Marine Association said in a statement it is disappointed in the U.G.B.P.S.’ use of the Stingrays.
The organization says that the StingRay should not be used in any circumstances, and is calling on the F.B., which controls the use of Stingrays around the world, to immediately cease its use.