Map Help

Map Help 2017-12-19T14:48:43+00:00

Understanding the Map

Example of AIS Data for One Vessel

This post originally appeared on our Data Blog  The sample vessel track below shows position broadcasts of the Jin Sheng No.2, a Chinese fishing vessel with mmsi number 413270430. Over three weeks in March of [...]

Embedding a Workspace into Your Own Website

A new feature in Global Fishing Watch is the ability to embed a workspace into your own website like this: Once your workspace is in your web page like this one above, here are the [...]

What’s Happening inside Motu Maha Marine Reserve?

There were a whole lot of fishing vessels inside the Motu Maha no-take marine reserve last year, and every one of them had a reason to be there. As part of our series on deciphering [...]

Fishing in a Marine Park? Look Again.

After our recent post Deciphering Suspicious Behavior: It’s not always what it seems, we thought it would be insightful to post a few examples of vessel behavior that looked suspect, but turned out to be [...]

How to View Multiple Tracks at Once

You can view multiple tracks at once by pinning them to your workspace. Assign different colors to each track to distinguish them from each other. Here’s how: (Read instructions below or watch a short video here.) [...]

Deciphering Suspicious Behavior: Not Always What It Seems

The first step in catching illegal and unreported fishing activity can feel a little like casting a net over a wide swath of the ocean. There’s going to be a lot of bycatch, because much [...]

Search for a Vessel on the Global Fishing Watch Map

Know the name or identity of a specific vessel you would like to find on the map? Here’s a step-by-step guide that shows you how to find it. […]

Ending Hide & Seek at Sea: Global Fishing Watch in Science

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), located in the central Pacific between Hawaii and Australia, is the world’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning a swath of ocean roughly the size of California, its hosts [...]

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I move my saved workspaces from the original version to the Beta Release 2.0? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

Unfortunately, the only way to do this is to manually recreate the workspace in the new version.

How do I import my own custom layer? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00
  1. In the toolbox, open the Layers tab.
  2. Click on Custom Layer.
  3. Name your layer, enter a .kml link, and add a description for your layer.
  4. You may now view your layer overlayed with our fishing activity data.

    To make your file into a .kml:

    1. Open Google Earth Pro. Download available here:
    2. Upload your file.
    3. Save as .kml.
    4. Upload your .kml into Dropbox.
    5. Copy the link from Dropbox and paste into the Custom Layer tab.
    6. Change the last number in the link from a 0 to a 1.
How do I create a report of fishing activity? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

In the map toolbox, open the Layers tab, then open “map layers.”

  1. Click the report icon (closest icon to the layer name) for the layer you are interested in observing (MPA-No Take, MPA-Restricted Use, EEZ, or RFMO). The report icon will turn white when selected.
  2. Click within the area you are interested in (e.g. within the MPA-No Take you are interested in, if you selected the report feature for the MPA-No Take layer).
  3. A pop-up box will appear with the name of the area you have selected. Click “Add to report.”
  4. You may select multiple regions.
  5. In the toolbox, click Send Report.
  6. The report will be emailed to you as an attached file in a few minutes.
How can I change the time period I see on the slider? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

The time slider at the bottom of the map determines the time period you are viewing. There are several ways to manipulate the time slider:

  • Click on the Start Date in the bottom left corner or End Date in the bottom right corner. A calendar will pop up and allow you to select dates.
  • Click on the bars on the left or right edge of the Time Slider, hold and drag to change the start or end time.
  • Click on the gear icon in the upper left corner of the box in the in Time Slider and select the time frame you are interested in.
How do I view a particular country’s fishing fleet? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

Click on the Filter tab in the toolbox and select the country you are interested in from the dropdown menu. You may view multiple countries’ fleets and customize the color of fishing activity on the map by country.  

How do I search for a specific vessel? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

Click on the Vessels tab in the toolbox to the right and enter the vessel identifying information in the search bar.

How can I save or share my workspace? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

You may share your workspace by clicking on the share arrow on the left side of the map below the “+” and “-” icons. This will bring up a unique url for your workspace, which you can copy and save or share with someone, as well as the option to embed your workspace.

Why am I not seeing certain Marine Protected Areas on Global Fishing Watch? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

The MPA layers we show are a subset of MCI’s MPAtlas. We currently do not show all MPAs in our MPA – Restricted Use and MPA – No Take layers as their restrictions vary, and for visualization reasons. However, all MPAs listed in MCI’s MPAtlas are available in our MPAtlas layer. In the Layers tab on our toolbox, select “Add Layers” and look for the MPAtlas layer.

Why is there fishing in an area marked as an MPA? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

In such areas you may see fishing. In no take Marine Protected Areas there should not be fishing, and any apparent fishing in such an area should be subjected to further scrutiny.

Why are there large circles in which there is no apparent fishing? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

The large circles without fishing are almost always EEZs around islands that heavily restrict or prohibit fishing (if you turn on the EEZ Layer in the Global Fishing Watch Map, you will see that they often line up with these blank areas). The circles could also be Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that prohibit fishing (you can turn on the MPA layers to see if that’s the case).

What is the significance of the EEZs? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a zone in the ocean in which the adjacent nation has jurisdiction. These generally include waters extending 200 nautical miles from a nation’s coastline but are also drawn closer in where multiple nation’s jurisdictions would otherwise overlap. Each country has special rights regarding exploration and use of resources within its EEZ. For example, if a country establishes that its fishing resources are being fully exploited by domestic fleets, it can exclude foreign vessels. A country can also allow foreign vessels to fish in its EEZ and can sell them fishing licenses.

What is the difference between MPA – No Take and MPA – Restricted Use? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

MPA – No Take includes protected areas where all fishing is prohibited. MPA – Restricted Use contains areas that allow some fishing but impose restrictions such as catch quotas, seasonal closures, or limits on certain types of fishing gear or fishing sectors (commercial vs. recreational, or industrial vs. small-scale).

Does the algorithm make mistakes? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

The Global Fishing Watch detection algorithm is a best effort to mathematically identify “apparent fishing activity by using machine learning at a global scale. It is based on thousands of “training segments” that humans with expertise in fishing have manually classified. Just like humans, the algorithm will make some mistakes. Over time, this will continue to improve as we feed the algorithms more training data and correct the mistakes that are made. As stated in the “fishing activity” definition, further scrutiny is required before any legal action or proof can be made.

Is the information I’m seeing in the map in real-time? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

The data you see spans from January 1, 2012 to near real-time. The most recent data shown in the map is from 72 hours prior to the present time.