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Later this year a new high tech satellite system will be put into operation throughout the Canaries. The new system, know as the Seahorse Network, is able to track drug and people traffickers for several days before they come ashore.

The system will connect intelligence agencies in Portugal, Mauritania, Senegal and the Cape Verde Islands to the main headquarters in Las Palmas to monitor boat traffic along the coast of West Africa.

The system operates via SpainSat, (see pic right) a satellite owned and operated by Spain’s Ministry of Defence.

Seahorse network will gather information from the various intelligence agencies as well as making use of data obtained from the marine Automatic Identification System, AIS, which tracks every vessel over 500 tons in the Eastern Atlantic.

Spain’s Ministry of Defence has signed up to a joint effort with the Canarian government to help protect the whales and dolphins living in waters around the Islands.

Following months of negotiations, Defence officials have agreed to halt Naval exercises in the areas where the cetaceans are commonly found and will contribute to a new 800,000 euro research initiative aimed at enhancing the conservation status of the mammals. The agreement is also backed by the Ministry of the Environment. Experts believe that up to 8 whales and dolphins die on Canarian beaches every after losing their sense of direction due to the impact of sonar equipment used on Navy ships.