About the Project
Global Fishing Watch enables anyone with an Internet connection to see fishing activity anywhere in the ocean in near real-time, for free.
Global Fishing Watch uses data and open technologies to help save the oceans by showing, for free, exactly where all of the trackable commercial fishing activity has happened since 2012 and is happening today in near-real time.
The Global Fishing Watch Map represents billions of publicly-broadcast Automatic Identification Signals (AIS) from ships at sea. Artificial intelligence tools developed by our data scientists, process these signals to distinguish individual vessel tracks and identify when the vessels are fishing based on their movements.
Our data sets, data analyses and reports are another important product of Global Fishing Watch. Our data scientists and research partners combine the AIS data with information from fishing registries, Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) data, and other sources of information about vessels and fishing fleets to understand their activities and impacts. We publish these data sets and products here for free.
Create transparency by revealing the activity of the commercial fishing fleet, which not only uncovers suspicious activity, but identifies patterns of behavior among fleets, flag states, individual vessels, and more.
Increase traceability by identifying individual vessel tracks to help validate the supply chain and facilitate monitoring and enforcement.
Promote sustainability by creating and disseminating data about fishing activity that will increase the understanding of global catch and fisheries interaction with the ecosystem.
Decision Makers, Policy Makers and Resource Managers
Revealing where, when, and how much fishing occurs can help decision makers develop informed policy as well as strategic management and enforcement programs that create sustainable fisheries and reduce Illegal Unregulated and Unreported fishing (IUU).
Conservation Organizations and NGOs
Identifying patterns in fishing behavior and revealing individual vessel tracks can support campaigns to reduce impacts of fishing on the ocean and drive policies that will stop IUU.
Providing a tool for fishers and seafood suppliers to verify how and where their products are caught can help demonstrate that they are using sustainable practices and increase market value of their product.
Developing data sets and analyses of global fishing activity can support research on ecology, the environment and human interaction with the ocean.
The Public and the Media:
Revealing fishing activity can empower the public to pressure officials and industry for changes that will improve sustainability on the oceans.
“Global Fishing Watch is going to be transformative. It will really change the way we manage fisheries because we can see what’s happening instead of just trying to envision what’s out there on the water. We will know, and therefore, we can make smarter decisions…Right now commercial fishers know that no one can actually see where they are and what they’re doing. And many of them abide by the rules, many of them do not. Global Fishing Watch is going to change that, because now somebody can be watching, purely and simply. We can see what they are doing and that’s going to make a big difference.”
– Dr. Jane Lubchenco, U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean, U.S. Department of State; Distinguished University Professor, Oregon State University; former Administrator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
“Global Fishing Watch is a godsend to ocean conservation. It is the only remote vessel tracking system that is global and publicly available. This is the beginning of the end of illegal fishing.”
– Dr. Enric Sala, Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society
“It’s interesting to be able to follow a given ship and to look back at where it’s been. So if they claim one thing, as a journalist you can go back and say ‘no you were not there, you were here at that time.’ So that’s new… To journalists I think the big story is going to be how Global Fishing Watch is going to change the way illegal fishing is done. Until now, boats could turn on or turn off their AIS systems and nobody really noticed. But now, it’s going o be a lot harder.”
– Chris Pala, Freelance Journalist
“Global Fishing Watch is a transformative tool to identify fishing activity and verify fleets are fishing both sustainably and responsibly.”
– Alexandra Cousteau, Ocean Advocate
“Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing is a global crime. To put an end to it, we have to use all the tools we have to ensure that all fishing efforts in our waters are seen and recorded. Once Global Fishing Watch kicks in, no fishing boat will be able to hide.”
– Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia
“Global Fishing Watch will be a groundbreaking tool to help ensure that fishers are following the rules that govern where and when they can fish. As a result, every scientist, government and ocean advocate will be well equipped with information to help reverse current trends and rebuild ocean abundance.”
– Dr. Daniel Pauly, Professor, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries & Department of Zoology, The University of British Columbia