Entries by Kimbra Cutlip

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 […]

Where are the Whalers?

Last week, a visitor to our site asked if Global Fishing Watch can be used to track whaling ships. The short answer is yes, sometimes. At the moment, our machine learning algorithms are being designed to classify three major types of fishing activity—trawling, longlining and purse seining—but some whaling vessels report themselves as “fishing vessels,” […]

Breaking Ground Means Breaking News

It’s been three weeks since we launched Global Fishing Watch, and the new technology platform has created a buzz around the globe from Europe to Southeast Asia, China, Brazil, Costa Rica, Australia and even landlocked parts of the world such as Pakistan and Iran. Users of the map hail from all over as well, and while there’s […]

Exploring a New World of Data with Team Member Aaron Roan

If you’ve grown accustomed to the idea that everything in our world is traceable—from airplanes to cell phones to personal browsing history and purchasing habits—it may seem like a no-brainer that we can use publicly broadcast Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals from ships at sea to find out where they are and what they’re doing. But in […]