Research Accelerator Program

Research Accelerator Program 2018-02-22T12:48:12+00:00

Program Overview

Global Fishing Watch is making the data that powers our public platform openly available for research projects and other non-commercial use through our Research Accelerator Program (RAP). Our goal in sharing this data is to enable others to undertake research that will accelerate advances in fisheries management and ocean sustainability.

Who is eligible?

This program is open to anyone who wants to use Global Fishing Watch data for a research project or other non-commercial purpose. You need to be a registered user of Global Fishing Watch in order to download the data.

What data products are available?

  • Gridded fishing activity data
  • Vessel identity and classification lists
  • Encounters between refrigerated cargo vessels and fishing vessels
  • Future data products: ports, AIS On/Off events, gridded VMS

What is required for me to access and use the data?

  • Register (free, self service)
  • Agree to the terms of service
  • Download the data – do your research
  • Participate in follow-up surveys
  • Join our research community forum
  • Grant permission to use your name and project description in Global Fishing Watch communications
  • Acknowledge Global Fishing Watch in anything you publish (see terms for proper citation)

Full Data Access License

For some projects, you may need access to detailed position data for individual vessels that have not been aggregated by gear type or flag state. The full data set, including every AIS position of fishing-related vessels, can be licensed for use in a single research project for a one-time fee. For more information, contact

One of our goals is to be as transparent as possible and release as much of our data and related analyses as we can, including those that are still “in development.” We’ve created a data portal geared toward researchers, software engineers, data scientists, or anyone who is interested in having access “under the hood” of Global Fishing Watch.

Some of the datasets you can access through the portal include:

  • Vessel Identity
  • Fishing Activity
  • Transshipment
  • Anonymized AIS Data

Registered users of RAP can access all of our data products on our Data Portal.

RAPpers Make Waves

Understanding the Impacts of the Chinese Fishery Moratorium

November 20th, 2017|

Wei Zhou, ocean campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia’s Beijing office, used Global Fishing Watch to understand the impact of recent changes to fisheries policy in China on the extent of fishing in the Chinese EEZ.  On September [...]

Understanding Fishing Activity Around Ascension Island

October 24th, 2017|

Sam Weber worked previously for the Ascension Island Government and is currently at the University of Exeter helping to establish the largest Marine Protected Area in the Atlantic around Ascension [...]

New Study: Greenhouse Gas Emissions are Rising as Vessel Traffic Grows

October 17th, 2017|

Commercial fishing is an energy-intensive business, and not just for the fishers hauling in the catch. Fishing vessels burn a lot of fuel. In fact, according to Naya Olmer, Marine Program Associate at the International Council [...]

The Missing Data to Help Protect Seamounts

October 13th, 2017|

Chris Kerry, a researcher at the University of Exeter in the UK, is using Global Fishing Watch gridded data to understand if seamounts are targeted by fishing vessels and if fishing activity is linked to any specific [...]

Global Fishing Watch and the Case of the IUU Hotspots

September 21st, 2017|

Dr. Gohar Petrossian of John Jay College of Criminal Justice studies crime at sea. She is using Global Fishing Watch data as part of her effort to understand Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.  When most people [...]