Research 2019-09-17T14:17:51+00:00

Research is a core component of Global Fishing Watch

We make our map platform and data freely accessible to expand research opportunities and accelerate improvements in the sustainability of our oceans. By sharing our data and collaborating with a network of researchers, we are able to amplify the impact of Global Fishing Watch beyond our own initiatives.

Research partners

The Research Partners program is a vital part of our work. Through a limited number of research collaborations, we are able to work closely with research organizations that use Global Fishing Watch data to advance specific sustainability goals like expanding or creating new marine protected areas (MPAs) and exposing the scope of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU).

Our research partnerships have also informed the development of Global Fishing Watch’s core technologies, including how we identify fishing behavior, transshipment and suspicious activity at sea. Our research partners also advise and assist with our own initiatives, providing intellectual guidance and using the outputs for their research.

Researchers using our data

Our Research Program now supports a growing community of dozens of researchers performing queries across our full five-year (and counting) dataset. They use the data in different ways, to explore, for example, the interaction between individual boats and albatross on the high seas, patterns of fishing activity around seamounts and the impact of China’s annual 4.5-month moratorium on fishing.

The Government of Kiribati used Global Fishing Watch data to show that an industrial purse seiner was fishing illegally in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, an important site for tuna where commercial fishing is banned. The boat’s owners, the Central Pacific Fishing Company, received a US$1 million fine, and also agreed to pay a further US$1 million grant to the Pacific island nation.

Global Fishing Watch data is not only helping with monitoring marine protected areas, it’s also helping make the case for new reserves. National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project has used our data to help establish five no-take reserves in the past two years: Clipperton Atoll (a French territory in the Pacific), Niue in the South Pacific, Revillagigedo archipelago in Mexico, and the Juan Fernández archipelago and Cape Horn in Chile.

If you have a research project, or are thinking about starting one that can benefit from our fishing activity datasets, please consider registering to access our data.

Map users

The fishing activity map is available for anyone to use it, and people are putting it to good use. Global Fishing Watch continues to update the map with new data sources and new layers that enhance what users are able to do with it.

Tuna Transshipment Analysis

Global Fishing Watch and The Pew Charitable Trusts are producing a series of reports exploring transshipment activity in the five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs). Read the reports

Latest Blogs

The Global Atlas of AIS-based Fishing Activity

By | November 19th, 2019|

In 2018, Global Fishing Watch (GFW) published the first ever global maps of fishing activity using AIS data. These [...]

On the frontline against illegal fishing in the world’s biggest ocean

By | November 14th, 2019|

Global Fishing Watch data assists US Coast Guard patrol in the Pacific. The 2019 patrol produced a threefold increase in [...]

Are unauthorized foreign vessels deterred from fishing inside Exclusive Economic Zones?

By | October 7th, 2019|

Gabriel Englander, PhD candidate, University of California, Berkeley. Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics. Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) are [...]

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