Entries by Kimbra Cutlip

Fishing in a Marine Park? Look Again.

After our recent post Deciphering Suspicious Behavior: It’s not always what it seems, we thought it would be insightful to post a few examples of vessel behavior that looked suspect, but turned out to be easily explained on closer inspection. Often, a look at the other vessels in the area can help explain what’s going […]

MPA Survey Hints at Complexity of Marine Conservation

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are among the best tools we have for conserving biodiversity in the oceans, protecting vulnerable marine life, and providing places of refuge for fish stocks. But do they work? Can vast areas of ocean really be regulated? And if so, what management strategies are most effective?

Interview with Google’s Brian Sullivan

As a Senior Program Manager for Google Ocean & Earth Outreach Brian Sullivan is Google’s lead on Global Fishing Watch. Over the years, he has managed digital divide programs in West Africa, toted Google’s Street View technology through remote areas of the world (including under water), and worked on multiple projects that help non-profits use […]

Identifying Transshipment From the Data

When two ships meet to transfer goods, it is called transshipment. In the fisheries industry, it is sometimes legal in ports, but usually illegal out at sea where the practice can’t be monitored. [You can read more about it here]. Transshipment can facilitate the mixing of illegal or unreported catch with legal catch, making it […]

Taming the Ocean’s Wild West

The high seas are often called the ocean’s Wild West—open territory far from any shoreline or national jurisdiction where the global fishing fleet takes a free-for-all approach to harvesting the world’s shared resources. There’s some truth to that, but there are, in fact, laws intended to manage fishing on the high seas. They’re hard to […]

What Does an AIS Message Look Like Anyway?

Automatic Identification System (AIS) messages are transmitted over radio waves. The system was designed, in part, so that vessels could “see” the positions of nearby ships on a monitor and avoid collisions. These radio signals are received by satellites and used for many monitoring purposes. Each boat can broadcast a distinct message as often as every two […]

Whaling off the map

Are whaling vessels that operate without using aids to avoid vessel collision putting the safety of biodiversity and people at risk?   This week the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has convened in Slovenia. The gathering marks the 30th anniversary of the commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling.

Remote Tracking to Improve Shark Conservation

Usually when you want to protect something, you have to know where it is. That sounds like common sense, but when it comes to protecting highly migratory species in the oceans, scientists, conservationists and resource managers are often flying blind. Marine animals such as sharks, turtles, whales and large mid-ocean fish like tuna often traverse […]

Witness to a Crime?

Unusual fleet behavior off West Africa spurs our analyst to investigate Just because something appears suspicious, doesn’t mean laws are being broken. Jumping too quickly to conclusions could embroil a legally operating fishing fleet in unwarranted investigations or accusations. Equally damaging would be to rush in on a crime without solid evidence and lose the […]