On September 15 at the Our Ocean Conference in Washington, a momentous stride was made in the health and future of our oceans: Oceania in partnership with SkyTruth and Google formally unveiled Global Fishing Watch.
What is Global Fishing Watch?
Global Fishing Watch enables anyone with an internet connection to monitor fishing activity anywhere in the ocean in near real-time. And for free!
How does it work?
Using ship tracking data broadcasted by Automatic Identification System (AIS), Global Fishing Watch tracks fishing vessels and their movements. AIS broadcasts the vessel’s information (such as position, speed and course) to satellites which transmit the information to earth. Global Fishing Watch processes the data, identifies which vessels are fishing boats and pinpoints when and where they are fishing. The data is then visualized on the Global Fishing Watch Map where anyone can track worldwide fishing activity.
Why does it matter?
A healthy ocean is crucial to our survival. Oceans regulate our climate, help provide food, clean the water we drink and generate the majority of the oxygen we breathe. However, our oceans are severely threatened by illegal fishing, overfishing and habitat destruction. Ocean sustainability depends on action by governments, the fishing industry, fishing management organizations and you – the citizen.
Be a Watchdog, Become a Defender
Through Global Fishing Watch, the public can monitor when and where commercial fishing is occurring around the world. (The below points are taken directly from the Global Fishing Watch website.)
- Citizens can see for themselves how their fisheries are being effectively managed and hold leaders accountable for long-term sustainability.
- Seafood suppliers can monitor the vessels they buy fish from.
- Journalists and the public can act as watchdogs to improve the sustainable management of global fisheries.
- Responsible fishermen can show they are adhering to the law.
- Researchers can address important fishery management questions.
You can help track illegal fishing activity and become a defender of our oceans.