Research is a core component of the Global Fishing Watch transparency platform. We make the platform freely accessible to expand research opportunities and accelerate improvements in the sustainability of our oceans. By sharing our data and collaborating with a network of researchers, we are able to amplify the impact of Global Fishing Watch beyond our own initiatives.
Researchers typically engage with Global Fishing Watch through two programs, but anyone can use the map to investigate fishing activity at sea.
The Research Partners program is a vital part of our transparency platform. Through a limited number of research collaborations, we are able to work closely with research organizations that use Global Fishing Watch data to advance specific sustainability goals like expanding or creating new marine protected areas (MPAs) and exposing the scope of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU). These partnerships have also informed the development of Global Fishing Watch’s core technologies, including how we identify fishing behavior, transshipment, and suspicious activity at sea. Our research partners also advise and assist with our own initiatives, providing intellectual guidance and using the outputs for their research.
Research Accelerator Program
After launching our transparency platform in 2016, we began to receive requests from researchers who wanted access to our data. We listened to what they wanted – what datasets and in what format – and provided the corresponding products. But a few requests soon became many, so we automated the registration process and standardized the datasets in order to accelerate these vital research projects. Already we have more than 60 participants and counting. If you have a research project, or are thinking about starting one that can benefit from our fishing activity datasets, please consider registering for our Research Accelerator Program (RAP).
The fishing activity map is available for anyone to use it, and people are putting it to good use. Already, the group “No Blue, No Green” has used the map to persuade the government of Argentina to create two new marine protected areas (MPAs), and a recreational fisherman in Tasmania is using the map to monitor for illegal activity in local MPAs. Global Fishing Watch continues to update the map with new data sources and new layers that enhance what users are able to do with it. If you or someone you know has used the map for a particular purpose, please share that story with us.