Technology collaboration aims to strengthen fisheries monitoring and control

New agreement will combine data and analysis from Global Fishing Watch and Vulcan Inc. to bolster fisheries transparency and enforcement

Washington D.C. Global Fishing Watch (GFW), an international nonprofit organization, has entered into a formal collaboration with Vulcan Inc., combining their vessel monitoring capabilities to enhance fisheries management and governmental efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Through the memorandum of understanding, the organizations will provide select governments and agencies with no-cost access to vessel tracking data and analysis tools, available through the GFW platform and Vulcan’s maritime information tool, Skylight. The coordinated approach will provide a more comprehensive solution to authorities committed to fishing activity transparency, and strengthening compliance and enforcement in their waters.

Participating governments and agencies will also have access to GFW analysts who can provide training and assistance in using the two platforms to monitor, detect and investigate behavior indicative of suspicious fishing activity.

We are excited to work with Skylight to offer complementary technologies to maritime nations seeking to enhance surveillance and enforcement, said Tony Long, CEO of Global Fishing Watch. “Collaborations such as this will help governments and monitoring agencies achieve more effective ocean governance. Our combined capabilities will promote greater transparency in fishing activity and provide a more effective and efficient means of monitoring and control.

The collaboration will facilitate participating government and agency access to near ­real-­time and historical analysis of fishing activity and support the detection of dark fleets – vessels that do not publicly broadcast their location or appear in public monitoring systems. It will also provide real-­time information on suspicious activity, including vessels loitering and potential transshipments at sea or entering closed or restricted areas, and alerts when known IUU offenders enter areas of interest.

“IUU fishing is a global problem that requires the coordinated efforts of organizations delivering innovative technology solutions to enable authorities to enforce laws regarding fishing activity,” said Ted Schmitt, Product Manager for Skylight. “Access to the advanced monitoring, control, and surveillance capabilities of the Global Fishing Watch and Skylight platforms represents a true game-changer for combatting this complex issue.”

GFW and Vulcan will initially focus their collaboration and outreach with maritime nations in Africa to encourage public sharing of vessel data and enforcement actions. The collaboration is globally scalable. The organizations welcome the expansion of the collaboration to additional entities working to combat IUU fishing, and who can benefit from the joint resources and expertise necessary to address this challenge.

GFW harnesses cutting-edge technology to visualize, track and share data about global fishing activity in near real-time and for free via its public map. GFW uses publicly broadcast automatic identification system data to track vessel movements. In partnership with governments, GFW also publishes vessel monitoring system data to its map to create an even clearer picture of fishing activity and provides analysis and training to help authorities use and benefit from its technology.

Skylight provides maritime intelligence software and services built on advanced machine learning, best­-in-­class vessel metadata, and robust satellite-­based analytics. Skylight alerts are available in real-time, enabling efficient and intelligence­ driven resource allocation and enforcement operations in exclusive economic zones, high seas, marine protected areas, and marine reserves.

For further information:
Sarah Bladen, Communications and Outreach Director, Global Fishing Watch, [email protected]

Janet Greenlee, Director, Communications, Vulcan, [email protected] 

Global Fishing Watch is an international nonprofit organization committed to advancing the sustainability of our ocean through increased transparency. By harnessing cutting edge technology, our platform allows anyone to view or download data and investigate global fishing activity in near real-time, for free. GFW was founded in 2015 through a collaboration between Oceana, SkyTruth and Google. Our work is made possible thanks to the support of our funding partners and technology and data providers.

Founded by philanthropists Jody Allen and the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, Vulcan Inc. is based in Seattle and works to make and leave the world a better place. Our social and environmental impact work is focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges in ocean health, combating climate change, wildlife conservation, and supporting vibrant communities. Learn more at and 

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