Carrying out an effective control of fishing activities is essential to guarantee a sustainable exploitation of sea resources. While traditional reconnaissance methods, such as planes and patrol vessels are indispensible, their operation is quite time consuming and costly over the extended regulated areas. On the contrary, satellitebased Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) provides a powerful surveillance capability already confirmed by a large amount of investigations and experiments all over the world. Nevertheless, automatic ship detection is still far from perfect. Hence, some efforts are still to be furnished in order to improve on this . In this paper, a novel algorithm for ship detection purposes based on the wavelet transform is presented and tested over simulated and real ENVISAT images.