Leonardo DiCaprio unveils new, free tech to protect fish

Since he was young, Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio dreamed of being a marine biologist. Now he’s doing the next best thing: He has helped launch free technology to fight illegal fishing.

And he’s hoping you will use it too.

DiCaprio announced his latest project, Global Fishing Watch, at the Our Ocean conference at the U.S. Department of State in Washington. Using satellite data, Global Fishing Watch allows anyone with an internet connection to spot and identify illegal fishing or overfishing in near-real time.

Illicit fishing may account for up to 26 million tons of fish a year, or more than 15 percent of the world’s total annual catch, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

“This platform will empower citizens across the globe to become powerful advocates for our oceans,” DiCaprio said, noting that governments, researchers and journalists can use the data to help restore depleted fisheries.

Tech giant Google, satellite imagery company SkyTruth and conservation organization Oceana helped build the technology.

“Global Fishing Watch will revolutionize the way the world views commercial fishing,” said Jacqueline Savitz of Oceana.

While juggling starring roles in films such as Titanic, Inception and The Revenant, which won him the 2016 Academy Award for Best Actor, DiCaprio has immersed himself in conservation issues. At his Oscar acceptance speech, he took time to highlight climate change.

For the past three years, he has collaborated on a documentary on the subject, Before the Flood. It is scheduled to debut October 31.

You can follow DiCaprio on Twitter @LeoDiCaprio, and the Our Ocean conference at #OurOcean and @StateDeptOES