CSIRO and Microsoft are partnering to tackle plastic waste and illegal fishing.

A wide-ranging agreement has been signed by CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall and Microsoft Australia Managing Director Steven Worrall, designed to accelerate critical research that will use AI and machine learning.

The project aims to tackle illegal fishing by analysing information gathered from high resolution cameras and underwater microphones to assist with fishing management in Australian marine reserves including the Great Barrier Reef, and detection of fishing with explosives in Indonesia.

It will also target marine debris by analysing videos of rivers and stormwater drains to identify and track garbage flows into waterways and inform intervention efforts, like placement of river rubbish traps and reverse vending machines where the public can recycle bottles and cans in return for cash.

CSIRO and Microsoft also say they will equip farmers with custom, digital insights from a diverse range of data sources, including sensors and satellites, but importantly deep domain knowledge integrated with analytics and modelling to provide insights on tactical and strategic decision making including soil condition, crop growth and farm management. This work will commence at CSIRO's new agricultural research facility at Boorowa, NSW.

“This partnership is turning science and technology into real-world solutions for real people, from the Great Barrier Reef, to suburban waterways, to farms and environments around the country,” Dr Marshall said.

“Everything CSIRO does is through partnerships across Australia and around the world, so it's great to share such a broad vision for making the world a better place with a visionary partner like Microsoft.”

More information is available here.