Friday, September 16, 2016

Tracking Global Fishing

A new interactive map from Oceana, SkyTruth and Google allows anyone to track the activities of fishing vessels across the world in real-time. Global Fishing Watch aims to help monitor global fishing and protect fish stocks around the world which are threatened by over-fishing, illegal fishing and habitat destruction.

The Global Fishing Watch Google Map tracks over 35,000 commercial fishing vessels around the world in near real-time. It also includes historical data on fishing vessel activity from January 1, 2012 until the present day. The near real-time activity and the historical data will hopefully deter illegal fishing and allow fishing managers to understand and manage fishing activity in their waters.

Global Fishing Watch uses the Automatic Identification System (AIS), the tracking system used on ships to identify vessels and to track their position, course, and speed.

Some commercial fishing fleets are managing to illegally flout international and national fishing quota regulations by transferring fish at sea to large 'reefers', large commercial vessels which receive and freeze the fish before transporting them to other destinations. In this way the fishing ships are able to avoid detection of their over-fishing by local fishing authorities.

ODI has used data from FishSpektrum to map the suspicious movements of 35 reefers in western African waters in 2013. Western Africa's Missing Fish uses CartoDB's Torque library to animate the tracks of these 35 commercial vessels.

Each of these animated maps is accompanied by a brief 'Tracking History', which explains the reefer's activity and why this is thought to be suspicious. Details about where the ship is registered, its type and its carrying capacity is also provided.

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