Global Fishing Watch Makes a Splash at the UN Ocean Conference

A traditional Fijian welcoming ceremony complete with meke dancing. Giant sculptures of sea creatures made of ocean trash along the East River. Announcements of MPA designations and other commitments to marine conservation by leaders from all over the world. As our Global Fishing Watch team arrived at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York for the first Ocean Conference, we were greeted by these scenes and more. Read more

Global Fishing Watch uses publicly broadcast AIS signals to track fishing vessels. On the Global Fishing Watch heat map, every lighted point represents a fishing vessel. The blue points are vessels detected through AIS, the green points represent nearly 5,000 additional vessels revealed through Indonesia’s Vessel Monitoring System data.

Indonesia Makes its Fishing Fleet Visible to the World through Global Fishing Watch

[MULTI-MEDIA AVAILABLE HERE]

View this on the Global Fishing Watch Map here: http://globalfishingwatch.org/indonesia-vms

This week, at the United Nation’s Ocean Conference, the Republic of Indonesia becomes the first nation ever to publish Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data revealing the location and activity of its commercial fishing fleet. The new data being made public on the Global Fishing Watch public mapping platform reveals commercial fishing in Indonesian waters and areas of the Indian Ocean where it had previously been invisible to the public and other nations. Read more

New Release Beta 2.0 – You Asked, We Delivered

Today, we are releasing a brand new version of the Global Fishing Watch interactive map that is easier to use and adds nearly 25,000 new vessels. It also increases your ability to customize the map view and share your work. Beta Release 2.0. comes in response to some great feedback we’ve been getting from our registered users since we launched in September.

You can now: Read more

The new release of Global Fishing Watch, Beta 2.0, includes a new look with enhanced custom features and 60,000 fishing vessels.

Beta Release 2.0: Nearly Doubling our Database of Commercial Fishing Vessels

Since our launch in September, we have added 25,000 more fishing vessels to our database. Our new Beta release 2.0 now includes 60,000 fishing vessels.

Although the number of fishing boats using AIS and the number of satellites receiving their signals have been steadily rising around the world, the vast majority of our gains have come from refinements to our analytical methods. The fishing detection algorithm has improved, and we’ve been able to identify more fishing vessels from the data we have. Read more

Fisheries Stakeholders Offer Insights to New Uses and Expanded Datasets

During the first two weeks of May, a team of Global Fishing Watch developers, designers and project managers gathered in Europe with members of our user community to teach, learn and brainstorm improvements and new uses for our online map and data. Read more

Can Tourism Trump Tuna in Mexico?

This Global FIshing Watch map shows fishing activity (lighted dots) within and around the proposed Revillagigedo Marine Protected area [outlined in yellow] off the west coast of Mexico.

Last year, a study comparing the economic value of tourism and commercial fishing around a cluster of remote Eastern Pacific Islands put some hard numbers behind a proposal to create the one of the world’s largest Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Those numbers shifted the balance in a previously one-sided dialogue with the government of Mexico which owns the islands. Read more

Our Recent Webinar Success Bodes Well for More to Come

Last Monday, we held a webinar in which 48 registered Global Fishing Watch users had an opportunity to hear from, and ask questions of, two of the authors of our recent report “The Global Footprint of Transshipment.” Read more

86,490 Points on a Map: All Potential Transshipments

5 years of transshipments 86 billion

In early 2017, we released an original report based on analysis of our data that revealed remarkable new insights about what goes on between fishing vessels at sea. The artificial intelligence platform we developed found that over the past five years, there were more than 86,000 potential cases in which fishing vessels transferred their catch to refrigerated cargo ships at sea. The practice is called transshipment, and in many cases it is illegal because it enables the mixing of legal and illegal catch and facilitates slave labor on fishing vessels that don’t need to return to port to drop off their catch. Read more

Transshipment: A Global Footprint Never Seen Before

It’s been just over five months since Global Fishing Watch launched publicly, and this week, we hope to make another splash by not just mapping global fishing activity, but by providing an unprecedented view of very specific activity by a very specific class of vessels around the world.

Today, at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Indonesia, Brian Sullivan, Google’s lead for Global Fishing Watch, is presenting the results of our new analysis that produced the first-ever global footprint of transshipment. We are releasing our data and analysis of these transshipments today in a free report titled The Global View of Transshipment: Preliminary Findings. Read more

Flag of Convenience or Cloak of Malfeasance?

In the U.S., you can’t slap a license plate on your car from a state you don’t live in. Not so for ships on the ocean. Of course, ships don’t have license plates; they have flags, but it’s not uncommon for a fishing vessel to fly a flag from a country that has no actual ties to the boat, the owner, or the captain behind the wheel.

Many countries have what’s called an open registry, which means they allow foreign vessels to register and fly their flags, so long as the vessel owner pays the fee and meets the registration requirements. Read more

Mystery Moves: What’s Up in the Pacific?

Over the past couple of months, SkyTruth analyst Bjorn Bergman has been watching some interesting activity by the Chinese fishing fleet in the Pacific. A large Chinese flagged squid-fishing fleet had been fishing at the boundary of Peru’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) throughout the summer and fall of 2016. Then, near the middle of December, many of them suddenly began migrating some 3,000 miles to the northwest. Read more

A New View of Marine Protected Areas

In 2016, 33 countries agreed to establish a global network of scientifically supported Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that will increase the amount of ocean area protected from the current 2 percent to 10 percent by the year 2020. MPAs either restrict human activity such as fishing, or they prohibit it all together. But the question is: do they work? Read more

What’s Happening inside Motu Maha Marine Reserve?

There were a whole lot of fishing vessels inside the Motu Maha no-take marine reserve last year, and every one of them had a reason to be there. As part of our series on deciphering suspicious behavior, we asked Dave Stevens, Senior Analyst for the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, to help us understand why nine fishing vessels made repeated trips into the 1,868 square mile marine reserve around the Auckland Islands—a World Heritage site 285 miles from the South Island of New Zealand. Read more

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 on.

In this case, the fishing vessel Glory Pacific No. 1 was seen moving back and forth over a large swath of ocean within the boundaries of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), a 150,000 square mile marine park where all fishing is prohibited. Read more

MPA Survey Hints at Complexity of Marine Conservation

The no-take marine reserve Motu Maha surrounds the Aukland Islands.

The no-take marine reserve Motu Maha surrounds the Aukland Islands.

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? Read more