Global Fishing Watch is an independent, international non-profit organisation.
We were originally set up through a collaboration between three partners: Oceana, an international ocean conservation organisation; SkyTruth, experts in using satellite technology to protect the environment; and Google, who provide the tools for processing big data.
Healthy, productive and resilient oceans where transparent and effective governance of marine resources supports biodiversity and sustainable development.
We’re committed to advancing ocean sustainability and stewardship through increasing transparency. We do this by offering, for free, data and near real-time tracking of global commercial fishing activity, supporting new science and research, and boosting the global dialogue on ocean transparency.
Within the next 10 years, we aim to track all large-scale fishing – some 300,000 boats responsible for about three-quarters of the global marine catch – and increase our ability to track small-scale fishing vessels.
GFW transparency program: Ocean sustainability through transparency, data-sharing and collaboration
What we do
Research and innovation
By making our data and visualisation tools freely available, we’re enabling scientific understanding and insights that will lead to change on the water.
We’re collaborating with internationally-recognised research institutions to further understanding of the complex challenges facing our ocean. This has generated new insights on, for example, high-seas fishing, shark finning by illegal fishers, the impact of Indonesia’s efforts to combat illegal fishing, and close encounters at sea where one vessel may be transferring its catch to another.
Policy and markets
Our data can inform economic and policy decisions, and we’re pursuing partnerships with government and industry around the world to improve transparency, data sharing and fisheries management. Data from other initiatives like industry-traceability programmes can also help us to tip the balance toward transparency.
Advocacy and education
We’re growing a community of people around the world committed to sustainable fisheries and better management in our oceans. We’re bringing together governments, businesses, NGOs, media and academia to promote transparency, improve understanding and foster collaboration – for example in building demand for sustainably-sourced seafood, identifying illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing hotspots, and establishing and managing marine protected areas.
Our Transparency Program
In 2017, Indonesia became the first nation to make its proprietary vessel monitoring system (VMS) data available via Global Fishing Watch, instantly putting 5,000 smaller commercial fishing vessels that don’t use AIS on our map. In October 2018, Peru followed suit, publishing its VMS data on our platform and Panama published their fishing and carrier vessel data in our platform in October 2019. More
“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, former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia
Global Fishing Watch and SDG 14: Life Below Water
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Sustainable management of our global ocean is threatened by a lack of science-based fisheries management, the proliferation of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and insufficient protection. Global Fishing Watch is supporting States working to realize the SDGs. Our fishing activity data and analysis are used to identify IUU fishing, support effective management of marine protected areas and improve maritime security. We do much of our scientific research in cooperation with government agencies, who use our satellite-based vessel monitoring to enhance their fisheries management.
What people are saying
“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.”
“Global Fishing Watch is a transformative tool to identify fishing activity and verify fleets are fishing both sustainably and responsibly.”
– Alexandra Cousteau, Ocean Advocate