Map Help

Map Help 2019-05-01T19:29:22+00:00

Understanding the Map

For better or worse, technology is taming the high seas

Ahead of World Oceans Day 2019, Tony Long, Global Fishing Watch CEO, reflects on how a technology revolution is transforming our relationship with the global ocean, enabling us to see what’s happening beyond the [...]

Working with our downloadable public data in R

Introduction Global Fishing Watch is committed to increasing the transparency of the world’s fisheries. Open science is a key component of this message and Global Fishing Watch strives to make as much data and [...]

Rhythms of the wild in global fisheries data

Eric Galbraith is an ICREA research professor based at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Jerome Guiet is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. Read their new study. [...]

Canadian government commits funding to Global Fishing Watch

Toronto, Canada - Today, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Sean Casey, reaffirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing at the Collision Conference in Toronto. [...]

Chile to publish vessel tracking data through Global Fishing Watch

Oceana and Global Fishing Watch Applaud Chile’s Leadership on Fisheries Transparency The Chilean government today signed an agreement to make its vessel tracking data publicly available through the Global Fishing Watch (GFW) map, which [...]

La pesquería comercial más grande del mundo ahora disponible en la plataforma del Global Fishing Watch

La primera temporada de pesca de anchoveta peruana para este año empieza el 4 de mayo y, por primera vez, cualquier persona podrá monitorear la flota pesquera a medida que avanza la temporada. Esto [...]

World’s largest commercial fishery publicly tracked on Global Fishing Watch map

This year’s first fishing season for Peruvian anchovy opens on May 4th and for the first time ever anyone can track the fishing fleet as the season progresses, thanks to the recent agreement to [...]

Working with our public data: Google Earth Engine

Global Fishing Watch is committed to increasing the transparency of the world’s fisheries. Open science is a key component of this message and we strive to make as much data and code publicly available [...]

Panama signs agreement to make its fishing fleet visible to the world

Nota de Prensa en español Panama City, 20 March 2019 - Panama today signed a formal agreement to make its national vessel tracking data publicly available through the Global Fishing Watch (GFW) map platform, demonstrating [...]

Predicting overlap of tunas, sharks, and ships at sea

Tim White is a PhD candidate at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station. His recent publication in Science Advances, Predicted hotspots of overlap between highly migratory fishes and industrial fishing fleets in the Northeast Pacific, [...]

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I upload my own custom layer? 2018-10-26T08:15:45+00:00
  1. Upload a GeoJSON file to
  2. Copy the link to that uploaded file.
  3. In the Global Fishing Watch map toolbox, open the Layers tab.
  4. Click on Custom Layer.
  5. Add a custom layer in Global Fishing Watch, pasting your GeoJSON link.
  6. Customize the layer color.
How do I create a report of fishing activity? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

In the map toolbox, open the Layers tab, then open “map layers.”

  1. Click the report icon (closest icon to the layer name) for the layer you are interested in observing (MPA-No Take, MPA-Restricted Use, EEZ, or RFMO). The report icon will turn white when selected.
  2. Click within the area you are interested in (e.g. within the MPA-No Take you are interested in, if you selected the report feature for the MPA-No Take layer).
  3. A pop-up box will appear with the name of the area you have selected. Click “Add to report.”
  4. You may select multiple regions.
  5. In the toolbox, click Send Report.
  6. The report will be emailed to you as an attached file in a few minutes.
How can I change the time period I see on the slider? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

The time slider at the bottom of the map determines the time period you are viewing. There are several ways to manipulate the time slider:

  • Click on the Start Date in the bottom left corner or End Date in the bottom right corner. A calendar will pop up and allow you to select dates.
  • Click on the bars on the left or right edge of the Time Slider, hold and drag to change the start or end time.
  • Click on the gear icon in the upper left corner of the box in the in Time Slider and select the time frame you are interested in.
How do I view a particular country’s fishing fleet? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

Click on the Filter tab in the toolbox and select the country you are interested in from the dropdown menu. You may view multiple countries’ fleets and customize the color of fishing activity on the map by country.  

How do I search for a specific vessel? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

Click on the Vessels tab in the toolbox to the right and enter the vessel identifying information in the search bar.

How can I save or share my workspace? 2017-12-28T14:58:02+00:00

You may share your workspace by clicking on the share arrow on the left side of the map below the “+” and “-” icons. This will bring up a unique url for your workspace, which you can copy and save or share with someone, as well as the option to embed your workspace.

Why am I not seeing certain Marine Protected Areas on Global Fishing Watch? 2018-10-26T08:17:45+00:00

We currently do not show all MPAs in our MPA – Restricted Use and MPA – No Take layers as their restrictions vary, and for visualization reasons. We have 3 MPA layers:

  • WDPA Protected planet MPA: includes ALL MPAs from Protected Planet.
  • MPA No Take: includes ‘no take’ MPAs extracted from Protected Planet WDPA.
  • MPA Restricted Use: includes ‘restricted use’ MPAs extracted from Protected Planet WDPA.
Why is there fishing in an area marked as an MPA? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

In such areas you may see fishing. In no take Marine Protected Areas there should not be fishing, and any apparent fishing in such an area should be subjected to further scrutiny.

Why are there large circles in which there is no apparent fishing? 2019-04-27T18:43:47+00:00

The large circles without fishing are almost always EEZs around islands that heavily restrict or prohibit fishing (if you turn on the EEZ Layer in the Global Fishing Watch Map, you will see that they often line up with these blank areas). The circles could also be Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that prohibit fishing (you can turn on the MPA layers to see if that’s the case).

What is the significance of the EEZs? 2019-04-27T18:52:38+00:00

An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a zone in the ocean in which the adjacent nation has jurisdiction. These generally include waters extending 200 nautical miles from a nation’s coastline but are also drawn closer in where multiple nation’s jurisdictions would otherwise overlap. Each country has special rights regarding exploration and use of resources within its EEZ. For example, if a country establishes that its fishing resources are being fully exploited by domestic fleets, it can exclude foreign vessels. A country can also allow foreign vessels to fish in its EEZ and can sell them fishing licenses.

What is the difference between MPA – No Take and MPA – Restricted Use? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

MPA – No Take includes protected areas where all fishing is prohibited. MPA – Restricted Use contains areas that allow some fishing but impose restrictions such as catch quotas, seasonal closures, or limits on certain types of fishing gear or fishing sectors (commercial vs. recreational, or industrial vs. small-scale).

Is the information I’m seeing in the map in real-time? 2017-12-28T14:58:26+00:00

The data you see spans from January 1, 2012 to near real-time. The most recent data shown in the map is from 72 hours prior to the present time.