Global Fishing Watch Initiative

A new initiative, Global Fishing Watch, has just been announced. Their goal is to bring accountability to the global fishing industries by providing a public monitoring service available to anyone.

  • People can now 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.

Check out the video below and find out some more about the project.

Below is a snapshot of a simulation I did today. All the yellow dots represent fishing activity. You can filter by Country too, to see who goes where and how often. One thing that is striking is how little of the oceans are left untouched.

Another key part of this tool is the marine protected area (MPA) overlay. This overlay allows us to see just how little of the world’s oceans are protected. In fact, it is currently less than 0.8% of the world’s ocean

A project like this is desperately needed as we continue to watch our fish stocks dwindle. Of the 600 marine fish stocks currently monitored by the FAO, almost 97% are either moderately exploited or almost fully depleted  (Source: FAO).

One shortcoming is that system has to rely on an AIS system being installed and functioning on board the vessels. Unfortunately, this can be turned off as it is not a legal requirement for all Countries and of course if you are fishing illegally then you certainly wouldn’t be using one.

However, to be able to see visually, the reach of the global fishing fleets is quite disturbing.  We hope that this tool can start to make a difference in the fight to save the global fisheries.

The Global Fishing Watch is a project created by Oceana, Skytruth and Google with funding partners including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

#globalfishingwatch #leonardodicapriofoundation #sustainablefishing #skytruth #oceana