Overfishing and illegal fishing:
Why should I care?
Our work examining fishing activities began with a partnership with the Global Ocean Legacy Project in 2011. We demonstrated to the Chilean government that a potential marine protected area could be monitored effectively from space, by monitoring the waters around Easter Island Province for a year. We documented ships operating in the waters, triggering beefed up enforcement by the Chilean Navy and removing an obstacle to the creation of the Rapa Nui Marine Protected Area.
This work led to the creation of Global Fishing Watch, a partnership with Google and Oceana that uses satellite data to map all of the world’s fishing activity. Today, Global Fishing Watch is an independent nonprofit organization offering near real-time tracking of fishing activity via a public map. Anyone can use it, for free, to track fishing boats and download data about their activities. This platform is helping enable scientific research, advocate for better policies to support marine protection, tackle overfishing and improve the way fishing is managed.
SkyTruth’s ongoing work mapping offshore infrastructure will help our partners at Global Fishing Watch distinguish vessels from stationary objects in the oceans, such as oil platforms and wind turbines. We developed an algorithm to differentiate infrastructure from vessels and are creating a database of offshore infrastructure around the world. We published the initial results of our work in 2019 in the peer-reviewed journal Remote Sensing of Environment. This map will help Global Fishing Watch better track fishing around the world, and help SkyTruth more effectively target our daily oil pollution monitoring work on areas that are at high risk for pollution events from oil and gas drilling and shipping.
Our latest work on overfishing and illegal fishing
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We publish our most significant work and information about our tools on our blog.