The NEREUS project

A space-based maritime surveillance system for fisheries monitoring and anomaly detection.

Start date

18 July 2022

End date

31 May 2024


The overexploitation of marine stocks often happens with complex and opaque dynamics facilitated by poor regulations and governance in countries where resources are limited to prevent and tackle Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Within this project we will work at the development of a nearly real-time and automated space-based maritime surveillance solution for illegal fishing. It will be based on a prototype we developed that can classify ship types through powerful remote sensing imagery and detect “dark” ships potentially partaking in illegal fishing activities.

In partnership with the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council, Mauritius will be able to detect illegal fishing activities within its marine protected areas and Exclusive Economic Zone, which is also a step forward in building ocean resilience by addressing the risk of overfishing, particularly for some tuna species, in the Western Indian Ocean.

Aims and objectives

This project aims to accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 "conserve and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” through development of technologies to assist authorities in:

  • Reducing and preventing IUU fishing as well as overfishing and other destructive fishing practices (SDG target 14.4)
  • Limiting the action of large-scale fisheries in favour of the small-scale ones by means of new legal and regulatory frameworks (SDG target 14.B)
  • Understanding the economic impact of IUU in the Republic of Mauritius and proposing a tool for stopping IUU and supporting the economic recovery (SDG target 14.7).


This project has received in-kind support by Satellite VU, JAXA, Capella Space and UKSA.

Funding amount




Research themes

Find out more about our research at Surrey: