NASA Earth Observatory image modified by SkyTruth

Mapping Global Fishing

NASA Earth Observatory image modified by SkyTruth

Mapping Global Fishing: Global Fishing Watch


WASHINGTON, DC — Today, September 15, 2016, Oceana, Google and SkyTruth launched Global Fishing Watch, a big data technology platform that leverages satellite data to create the first global view of commercial fishing. At the Our Ocean Conference hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, DC, actor and ocean advocate Leonardo DiCaprio announced in his remarks to that Global Fishing Watch is now free and open to the public, and Secretary Kerry personally received a demonstration of the tool from the Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google team.

fleetsGlobal Fishing Watch was designed, developed, and tested by SkyTruth to enable users to map and analyze all of the world’s trackable commercial fishing activity. It is the world’s first dynamic, global, near real-time measure of fishing activity. The revolutionary new tool gives researchers, advocates, regulators, consumers, and industry a simple, online platform to visualize, track and share information about how fishing industries interact with ocean resources.

The platform works by analyzing data points from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) network. AIS, basically a GPS broadcast of a ship’s location, was primarily designed as a safety mechanism to avoid collisions at sea, but information about the vessel’s behavior can be derived by analyzing the identity, speed and direction of broadcasting vessels. Global Fishing Watch removes all the cargo ships and other non-fishing vessel activity, providing an unprecedented view of the fishing activity in the ocean.

“So much of what happens out on the high seas is invisible, and that has been a huge barrier to understanding and showing the world what’s at stake for the ocean,” said John Amos, President and Founder of SkyTruth. “But now, satellite data is allowing us to make human interaction with the ocean more transparent than ever before. Fishermen can show how they are doing their part to fish sustainably, we can motivate citizens to watch the places they care about, and we can all work together to restore a thriving ocean.”

Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google unveiled the prototype in November 2014 at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia. Today, Global Fishing Watch unlocks the power of machine-learning, mapping, and a near real-time feed of satellite data to anyone with a modern computer and decent internet connection

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