Entries by Kimbra Cutlip

Tracking Fish and Ships

Where do sharks and boats cross paths? What about sea turtles and whales? If we knew this, maybe we could reduce the number of vulnerable marine animals that end up entangled  or accidentally caught in fishing gear. After years of monitoring large pelagic sea life with remote tracking devices, researchers have started to build a […]

Partnering to Improve Seafood Traceability

Imagine a vessel captain pulling into port with a cargo hold full of fish. The captain reports the vessel’s identity to the authorities, and his or her entire fishing voyage can be instantly viewed on a screen. The location in which the fish was caught can be verified right there at the dock. The fish […]

Teaching Machines to Tell Us About Fishing

None of what we’re doing at Global Fishing Watch would be possible without the advancements in computing power that have occurred in recent years. The volume of data we work with would have been overwhelming in the past. In one random sample, we observed more than 127,000 vessels over a 24-hour period broadcasting the Automatic […]

New Partnership Expands Our View to Artisanal Fisheries

Today, Global Fishing Watch is focused on tracking commercial-scale fishing fleets, because they are the ones required to carry Automatic Identification Systems that broadcast their information to satellites. But small, artisanal fishing vessels represent another side of the picture that can’t be ignored. Although they often employ low-tech, traditional fishing methods (especially in developing countries), small-boat subsistence fishers […]

What Ports Can Tell Us

Ports provide an important source of information to help us combat Illegal fishing and understand the science and economics of global fisheries. “They serve as the interface between land and sea for fishing vessels,” says Wessley Merten, our data and fisheries analyst at Oceana. “Wherever there’s a port, there’s an interaction. Whether it be offloading […]

Characterizing Gaps in the Data

Just a few years ago the very idea of collecting billions of radio signals from ocean-going vessels all around the world and creating a global map of their activity in near-real time would have been unthinkable. But today’s cloud computing technology allows us to do amazing things with huge amounts of data.

We’ve Launched!

Last Thursday, we kicked off the public launch of Global Fishing Watch with an announcement by actor and ocean advocate Leonardo DiCaprio at the Our Ocean Conference in Washington, DC. After the announcement, organizer and host Secretary of State John Kerry stopped by our demonstration in the conference hall to speak with the team and […]

When Vessels Report False Locations

Occasionally, the AIS messages transmitted from a ship provide a location that makes no sense, say, in the middle of the Antarctic or over a mountain range. In such cases, either the AIS transponder has malfunctioned, the data got scrambled in transmission, or the system has been tampered with in a deliberate attempt to disguise […]

Rendezvous at Sea: What is Transshipping?

In the commercial fishing world, transshipment is the transfer of catch from one vessel to another. During a transshipment, a fishing vessel meets up with a large refrigerated cargo-type ship, known as a “reefer.” They tie up alongside one another and drift while the fishing vessel offloads tons of catch before heading back out to […]

Interview with Chris Costello: Environmental Economist

A 2016 recipient of the prestigious Peter Benchley Ocean Award, Dr. Christopher Costello is a professor of Environmental and Resource Economics at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara. His work focuses on natural resource management, and in particular, the issues surrounding resources that cannot be claimed by an individual or […]

Global Fishing Watch Well Received in Jakarta

Last week our Chief Technology Officer Paul Woods and Google’s lead on the project, Brian Sullivan traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia, to participate in the South-East Asia and Pacific Regional Fisheries Summit. As part of the Economist Events’ World Ocean Initiative, the meetings brought together government, industry, the financial sector and scientists for two days of discussions […]

Diversity Expedition Update

Last week we reported on an expedition to survey diversity in the deep sea off the coast of Southern California. The goal of the expedition was to document on video the diversity of deep sea diversity in the area and demonstrate the need to close the waters of the Southern California Bight to bottom trawl fishing which destroys […]