Fighting Poaching

We have been worried by the detrimental effects on the economy and environment by the growing tendency of illegal fishing during spawning seasons in Latvia. Concerned by the limited detection capabilities of the responsible institutions we offered to help. Traditional monitoring efforts require significant human resources or an element of luck. By using specially equiped aircraft we uncovered the most popular poaching sites during the night-time. The remote sensing technology allowed us to observe whole river basins quickly and precisely.

1.image. Human activities near to rivers in Latvia during the night-time

The Aim

To help the responsible agencies to monitor the poaching in rivers and lakes during the spawning season in Latvia. To improve the effectiveness of the control system of the poaching in Latvia.

Our Role

IES is the project lead partner

2.image. The infrared image of river acquired by the Airborne Surveillance and Environmental Monitoring System.


We developed a new monitoring methodology for poaching in Latvia. By using data acquired by airborne remote sensing technologies mounted in a two engine aircraft BN-2T-4S, we uncovered the most popular poaching sites during the night-time. The data discovered all sources of heat with remarkable accuracy. The data of sources of heat, such as human and animals was possible to acquire by using a high resolution RGB camera and a thermal infrared sensors. After the quick evaluation of data we contacted the authorities giving them the exact GPS coordinates of the poachers which led to their detainment. Seeing the success of the operation has reinforced our commitment to helping the responsible agencies in the future.  

3.image. By using airborne remote sensing technologies – RGB camera and infrared sensors, it is possible to uncover the most popular poaching sites during the night-time.

The video of ARSENAL’s poaching monitoring missions:

  1. Detecting poachers of Baltic salmon during spawning season.
  2. Life goes on in darkness in Latvia.

Project duration: 01.10.2012 – 30.11.2013

Project Manager: Jānis Ontužāns, the manager of IES’s aviation department

The project is financed by: Institute for Environmental Solutions

Beneficiary: Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia