Global Fishing Watch responds to the 2024 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report

According to the 2024 SOFIA report, our ocean's future hangs in the balance. Chief Program Officer, Paolo Roberto Domondon, argues that greater transparency can drive decisive action.

The 2024 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report once again spotlights the increasingly critical role fisheries and aquaculture play in ensuring our planet’s economic and environmental wellbeing. 

More than 3 billion people today rely on seafood for their primary source of protein. That number is only destined to increase as communities around the world turn to the ocean to feed their families and support their livelihoods. 

But the SOFIA report is also clear that without urgent action to curtail illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and without widespread responsible ocean governance, our sustainable ocean future hangs in the balance.  

IUU fishing remains a major roadblock to achieving the FAO’s Blue Transformation. Crucially, it impedes key opportunities presented by sustainable fishing for enhanced food security and poverty eradication. We need decisive action when it comes to the enactment of global policies—from universal implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement to boosting adoption of the FAO guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries.  We need discussions to develop policies that mandate public vessel tracking, which are essential to management and enforcement efforts. And most importantly, we need full transparency of all fishing and other human activities at sea—ensuring information about them is available and accessible to everyone it affects.  

Global Fishing Watch urges all governments to mandate, and publicly share, vessel tracking data, alongside vessel identity, ownership, and other essential vessel information, to effectively manage and govern our shared ocean commons. Supported by our open data and technology platform, we remain readily available to support countries in sharing and analyzing data to bolster their critical monitoring and control efforts.  

When done right, transparency not only informs policy but also drives decisive action. By harnessing open data and technology, we can build a comprehensive picture of what is taking place at sea and pave the way for evidence-based decision-making to bring about real change on the water.

The 2024 SOFIA report clearly emphasizes the pressing need for targeted policies, technology transfer, capacity building and responsible investment to boost sustainable fisheries management where it is needed most.  

And it also serves as a confirmation that all governments must ramp up their efforts to achieve full transparency of human activities in the global ocean. Only in this manner, can we achieve greater accountability, improved governance, reduced ecological threats and an ocean that is healthy, productive and resilient for all. Because an ocean we can see, is an ocean we can save. 

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