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Why are vessel names sometimes garbled or blank?

Vessel names are taken directly from the AIS message a vessel broadcasts. Transmitters sometimes have errors or are not always properly configured. In some cases, we are able to match vessels to fishing registries and will use the name from there.

By | 2020-03-06T10:24:47-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

How will Global Fishing Watch track small scale fishing?

Global Fishing Watch believes that transparency of fishing activity is key to achieving sustainable global fisheries. Proper fisheries management is key to securing the incomes of fishers in the long term, including small scale fishing vessels which constitute a great proportion of some nations’ fishery. In the case of Indonesia, over 90% of the country’s [...]

By | 2020-03-06T10:26:27-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

Will this tip off the fishing industry to where all the fish are?

No. Commercial fishing fleets are already using sophisticated technology such as helicopters, tracking beacons, fish-finding sonar and even fish forecasts based on satellite data to find and catch fish. Global Fishing Watch shows where fishing activity has apparently occurred; it doesn’t predict where fish are likely to be in the future. The 72-hour time lag [...]

By | 2020-03-06T10:31:32-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

Can I download raw VMS data?

The VMS data remains under the ownership of the respective national authorities and we cannot release it publicly beyond displaying it on our map.

By | 2020-03-06T10:36:48-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

Can I download raw AIS data?

The raw AIS data we use is commercial data and we cannot make it freely available to the public. However, we have created a sample dataset of labeled anonymized AIS data that can be used to train fishing prediction models. For some projects, you may need access to detailed position data for individual vessels that [...]

By | 2020-03-06T10:38:37-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

How can I obtain Global Fishing Watch data or code?

To download our data or access our code, log into our data portal with your Global Fishing Watch account (same info as your login) and select the dataset that you would like to download. Data are also available via Google’s BigQuery and Earth Engine platforms. See our data blog for more information on accessing [...]

By | 2020-03-06T10:40:29-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

How accurately does GFW identify fishing activity?

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 [...]

By | 2020-03-06T10:50:37-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

How does it work?

Global Fishing Watch processes data using machine learning to identify where and when fishing is occurring on a global scale. We’re employing a class of machine learning models called neural networks (NNs) to help us process all those AIS or VMS messages and to help us determine commercial fishing activity based on the vessel’s movements [...]

By | 2019-05-10T06:14:23-04:00 May 10th, 2019|

Where does the data come from?

We get our data from a combination of commercial and government sources.  For satellite and terrestrial vessel-tracking AIS data, we buy the data from commercial satellite operators Spire, ORBCOMM and exactEarth.  We also receive VMS vessel tracking data directly from participating countries. We use satellite imagery that is produced by NASA, The Earth Observation group [...]

By | 2020-03-06T10:53:27-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

Are there concerns about sharing VMS data?

No matter what the industry, increasing transparency is always met with some anxiety from some corners. These are the concerns we’ve heard: Sharing VMS is an invasion of privacy and it reveals fishing grounds to competitors. Larger vessels fishing are already required to reveal this information by carrying publicly broadcast AIS. In addition, vessels fishing [...]

By | 2020-03-06T10:55:52-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

How transparent should fishing be?

Global Fishing Watch believes that fishing should be fully transparent. Transparency does not have to be instantaneous. A delay to the public dissemination is entirely reasonable, but the dissemination must contain the information needed to make the activity of the vessel and the catch clearly understood. It is the fact that fishers are aware that [...]

By | 2020-03-06T10:59:19-05:00 May 10th, 2019|

Does full and public transparency compromise fisheries’ commercial interests and privacy?

Global Fishing Watch displays vessel locations from AIS data with a 72 hour lag. VMS data is redacted slightly, aggregated and delayed in the public map. Being displayed in Global Fishing Watch does not compromise a vessel’s commercial catch – commercial fishing fleets are already using sophisticated technology such as helicopters, tracking beacons, fish-finding sonar [...]

By | 2020-03-06T11:02:25-05:00 May 10th, 2019|
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