Nowhere to Hide From Global Fishing Watch

First there came Global Forest Watch and now there’s Global Fishing Watch, putting our forests and oceans under a magnifying glass.

Both efforts make use of new technologies that can help nonprofits and responsible corporations protect the Earth’s natural bounty. It’s way past time to stop illegal logging and over-fishing.

Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google are behind Global Fishing Watch, where massive amounts of satellite data will bring the first-ever global view of commercial fishing into sharp relief.

Imagine being able to see the global fishing fleet in action in real time – people will finally see the intensity of industry, that’s causing the precipitous decline of our fisheries.

Fish Global Fishing Watch

"Global Fishing Watch uses big data and massive computing capacity to transform fisheries management by exposing illegal practices and creating a deterrent to breaking the law," says Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless. "This will allow policies like catch limits and habitat protection measures to work to bring back fishery abundance and help feed our growing populations."

Overfishing is destroying ocean ecosystems, with over 90% of the world’s fisheries fully exploited or over-fished, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. This year, Bloomberg Philanthropies donated $53 million and the EU finally passed legislation to seriously reform fishing practices, but these efforts won’t succeed without the ability to observe and verify. 

Orbiting satellites will analyze millions of data points from vessel locations. "So much of what happens out on the high seas is invisible, but now, satellite data is allowing us to make human interaction with the ocean more transparent than ever before. Fishermen can show how they are doing their part to fish sustainably, we can motivate citizens to watch the places they care about, and we can all work together to restore a thriving ocean," says John Amos, President of SkyTruth.

"While many of the environmental trends in the ocean can be sobering, the combination of cloud computing and massive data is enabling new tools to visualize, understand and potentially reverse these trends," says Brian Sullivan, Program Manager for Google Ocean & Earth Outreach. "We are excited to contribute a Google-scale approach toward ocean sustainability and public awareness."

The website is in the prototype phase and will be fully functional in the next year or so:

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