Publication of VMS data contributes to ocean management on the global scale as it adds to a more comprehensive understanding of global fisheries. Governments can also benefit from a deeper understanding of their fisheries data by working with Global Fishing Watch.
Going public with their VMS through GFW means for participating governments that:
- Monitoring becomes cheaper and more effective and responsible fishing is rewarded.
- Offenders will stand out more clearly and can be penalized appropriately.
- Attention is attracted from buyers and suppliers who care about sustainably sourced and traceable seafood.
- Surveillance is improved as vessels are encouraged to comply with fisheries regulations; transparency breeds self-correcting behaviour.
- Unauthorised vessels and those that don’t have a history of compliance can be easily spotted and prioritised for inspections.
- Vessels that ‘go dark’ and turn off tracking devices can be held accountable when they come into port.
- Inspections for IUU-caught fish can be better targeted to reveal other issues, such as lack of safety equipment or poor working conditions.
- Public VMS is more cost effective: by encouraging and rewarding compliance a country increases the number of vessels being tracked and reduces the surveillance effort through traditional enforcement methods.
In addition to these factors, governments sharing their VMS data publicly through GFW will receive a number of benefits in form of technical support and assistance identifying illegal or suspicious activity from the GFW team.