Korean Digital New Deal Digitalizes Natural Resources Management

Korean Digital New Deal Digitalizes Natural Resources Management

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Born2Global Centre released an article that highlights the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT)‘s Korean Digital New Deal. As part of the Korean government MSIT, Born2Global Centre has played a crucial role by connecting Korean startups with various opportunities worldwide.

The globally acclaimed Korean film “Oldboy” has an eye-opening scene where the male lead Dae-su Oh eats a live, squirming octopus in a show of rage after more than 15 years of confinement.  Although the octopus-eating scene shocked foreign audiences, the eight-limbed mollusks are one of Korea’s beloved delicacies. Korean people enjoy eating octopuses in all forms.

Smart Fishing Service
Smart Fishing Service

Unfortunately, domestic octopus fishing is reported to have steadily decreased, mainly due to marine pollution, illegal fishing, and the aging of fishermen.  According to government data, 84 percent of 36,899 tons of octopuses that the nation consumed in 2020 was imported from China.

As the importance for more effective fishing methods grows, the government turns to cutting-edge technologies to monitor and manage octopus fishing operations in a “smart” way.

The Smart Village project is underway as part of the Korean Digital New Deal that the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) initiated last year. The project focuses on utilizing intelligent information communication technologies (ICT) to improve productivity, safety, security, and environment for the nation’s farming and fishing villages.

One of its major components is “Smart Octopus Service” that targets Shinan-gun County in Jeollanam-do Province, home to one of the nation’s four biggest tidal flats. It aims to provide a smart and innovative natural resource management system for its fishing communities.

Drone, AI, and IoT Improve Fishing Operations

The science ministry, in partnership with the National Information Society Agency (NIA), deployed unmanned drones to capture images of mudflats across the county. AI machine learning technology was then applied to the drone images to transform them into data that created a precise topographic map that predicts potential habitats across the area.  As a result, more than 60,000 AI learning data were made available to identify and locate small holes or trails that octopuses left in the mud, making fishermen assume the whereabouts of the marine creatures. 

Fishermen in the region can access the data anytime through both web-based and mobile app platforms called “Smart Shinan” to monitor the location of octopuses as well as environmental changes in the tidal flats.

In addition, AI-powered CCTV cameras were installed along the coastline to distinguish authorized and non-authorized fishing ships. IoT and GPS sensors were attached to more than 50 registered ships to monitor their location and issue a warning immediately in case external ships are detected. Fishermen can also monitor the situation in real time through the Smart Shinan mobile app.

The project has raised hopes that it would help eradicate illegal fishing operations, which are considered as one of the culprits behind the reduced amount of octopus resources. In fact, it has made it easier for the authorities and fishermen in the region to monitor both mudflats and ocean waters anytime.

The ministry plans to expand the Smart Octopus Service to other areas in the county. “The service became a success case of the Digital New Deal initiative as it has significantly improved productivity of natural resources overall. By replicating the service in other communities, we will continue to facilitate digital transformation in marginalized farming and fishing villages,” said the ministry.

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