Indonesia took a bold and unprecedented step in June 2017, becoming the first country to openly reveal the activity of its fishing fleet by publishing its data in Global Fishing Watch. It was a move others had said would never happen, but their example is leading a growing movement. Three months later, in September 2017 Peru signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Global Fishing Watch to do the same, and interest from other nations is steadily increasing.
Why it’s important
Fisheries underpin the food security and economic security of many coastal nations, but fish cross borders as do fishers, and governing bodies need better knowledge of where fishing occurs. Coastal nations must rely on each other to cooperatively manage and regulate their fishing fleets, a challenge that requires trust and transparency. By sharing their VMS data through Global Fishing Watch, Indonesia and Peru, two of the world’s largest fishing nations, have committed to a level of transparency that fosters trust and holds them accountable for the effective regulation and monitoring of their fishing fleets and the foreign fleets within their waters.
Where we’re headed
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals require sustainable ocean management and an end to IUU fishing by 2020. With little more than two years to go, efforts to meet the deadline must be swift and effective. If all nations will allow their VMS data to be shared in Global Fishing Watch, governing bodies will have the information they need for effective, science-based management, and there will be little opportunity for corruption or for Illegal fishers to hide. Securing partnership from all fishing nations and scaling up our platform to process billions more data points is a daunting challenge, but this is where we plan to go.