Irish Examiner View: Albatross strike back

Irish Examiner View: Albatross strike back

Though we live in an age of ever more comprehensive surveillance we may not have a full appreciation of how our every move is tracked.

Our mobile phones, our cash cards, visits to centres where CCTV are ubiquitous leave an indelible trail.

The spread of 5G technology promises to make it even more difficult to stay below the radar. Despite those advances — if that is what they are — it seems reassuring that nature can still provide solutions as yet beyond the reach of science.

France and New Zealand are working on a project that gives a new meaning to that eye-in-the-sky tag.

It involves attaching radar tags on albatross that will take to sub-Antarctic skies and scan remote parts of the Pacific Ocean for illegal fishing boats.

It is thought global illegal fishing costs, apart at all from the impact on our seas, about €21bn a year.

Scientists believe an albatross can fly 10,000 miles using almost no energy, so they may be the ultimate spy drone.

There seems a cheering symmetry about this project too as using such an iconic bird to protect nature seems appropriate especially as industrial fishing threatens the species survival.

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