NSA SIDtoday: One Fish, Two Fish, My Fish, Your Fish!
Aug. 15 2018 — 6:02p.m.
DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS TOP SECRET II SI I TK II REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL [i] SID Today archives [i] [i] I Welcome! Saturday , 10 Nov 2012 [i] feedback [i] • • • • • • • • Web search AgencY--all Emails SID-all Emails NSA Rolodex SCQA WK: The SID Mailbag SIDtodaY-Blog SIDtodaY-Series SIGINT Worldwide VTC • SIDtodaY-Article • Letter to the Editor • SIGINT-Y-Social Media Pag~ (U) One Fish, Two Fish, My Fish, Your Fish! FROM: (UI/FOUO) Weapon s & Space , NSA Colorado (FCS2 IS2J) Run Date: 0612712012
(U) The international commer cial fishing indu stry is big business and many countrie s are struggling to protect their maritime resources and exclu sive economi c zones (EEZ) . The se EEZ s generally extend 200 nautical mile s from a country 's coastline. As maritime resources are stressed by increa sed fishing pre ssures, dispute s over fishing right s and violation s of EEZ are a growing concern and are increasingly becoming flash point s for international incident s. [g (TS//SI//REL) The PRC commercial fishing fleets are often involved in EEZ incursions and illegal fishing activities. Just recently Chine se fishing activities in the South China Sea resulted in two separate incident s that escalated to involve the naval forces of the PRC and the Philippine s and Indone sia. Monitoring of the locations and activities of foreign fishing fleets is an important mission of the United States Coast Guard , many of our Second Party partner s, as well as being an item of concern for the US State Department. Maritime Identification Etiquette (U) (S//REL ) One key tool to monitoring fishing fleet activity is the use of the international Automati c Identification System (AIS) by many fishing vessels. While mandated for larger vessels, AIS is often used on smaller vessels as well. Among the item s of information AIS provides is an automati c po sition report to all the ships in the area to aid in safe navigation. The AIS system also helps simplify the problem s of enforcing fishing regulation s and monitoring activity in a nation 's EEZ. (S//REL ) Naturally , it wasn't surpri sing to hear our customer s' concerns when a large number of Chine se fishing vessels were observed broadcasting their po sition 1,000 mile s from where they actually were. Not only did this po se a threat to the safety of navigation for ships operating in proximity to these fishing vessels, it also complicated the monitoring of the EEZ for the United States and our Second Party partner s. (S//REL ) A combined effort between NSA Colorado and Second Party partner s surged on this problem. Early on it was clear that there were two types of problem s with the po sitional data being broadcast by the affected Chine se fishing fleet AIS systems. However, both problem s pre sented our customer s and other ships in the vicinity of the PRC fishing vessels with vastly incorrect vessel location , dimini shing the value of AIS to aid in safe navigation and in the monitoring of foreign fishing activity near region s of concern. OK, So You Made a Mistake! (U) (S//REL ) The tracks of those Chine se fishing vessels with the first type of error would appear to "bounce or reflect" off the equator and the international dateline as the ships continued east or south. Eventually , for ships heading to the fishing ground s off the Pacific coast of South Ameri ca, the AIS tracking would be "reflected " in northern India ! The po sition s of these Chine se fishing vessels it appeared to be "reflected " back into the northea stern global quadrant. Thi s problem was apparently recognized by the PRC authoritie s and corrections to the AIS on these fishing vessels began to occur in Augu st 2011. The Standard Coordinate System Isn't Good Enough for You? (U) (S//REL ) The second type of problem was not an error but an intentional "misuse" of the AIS messaging proto col to produ ce a different (home-gro wn) coordinate system for use by some PRC fishing vessels. Thi s coordinate system measured longitude to the east from O degree s at the prime meridian to 362 degree s. The longitude values displayed a gap , or "skipped " from 180 to 182 degree s. Latitude was measured from the equator at O degree s and increased to 90 degree s at the North Pole. Then the latitude values resumed at the South Pole at 92 degree s and reached the southern side of the equator at 182 degree s. The result of these two characteristics is that while the Chine se know where their ships are , the po sition when they are located outside the northea stern global quadrant po sing challenge s for customer s, sailors, and naval authoritie s that rely on AIS data to perform their dutie s.
(S//REL) In the above graphic, the red line at the top marks 91 degrees N latitude skipped by PRC users; the yellow line on the right is 181 degrees longitude, also skipped. (S//REL) This problem has been identified on at least 18 fishing vessels and has shown no signs of being corrected. Analytic work continues to ensure that the affected vessels can be identified and processed to provide the true positional information. The underlying reason for why the PRC has opted to use this alternate coordinate system for some of their fishing vessels is still unknown. (U//FOUO) Comments on this topic, or information to pass on? Send a note to Comments/Suggestions about this article? "(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)." Information Owner: Page Publisher Last Modified: 11/10/2012 / Last Reviewed: 11/10/2012 DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108