SkyTruth, Oceana & Google Announce New Technology Initiative to Illuminate Global Fishing Activity
Press Release Date: November 14, 2014
Today, SkyTruth, Oceana and Google announced Global Fishing Watch, a big data technology platform that leverages satellite data to create the first global view of commercial fishing. On November 14, 2014, a prototype was unveiled at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, with a public release version in development. Global Fishing Watch will ultimately give citizens a simple, online platform to visualize, track and share information about fishing activity worldwide.
The platform works by analyzing data points from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) network. AIS, basically a GPS broadcast of a ship’s location, was primarily designed as a safety mechanism to avoid collisions at sea, but information about the vessel’s behavior can be derived by analyzing the identity, speed and direction of broadcasting vessels. Global Fishing Watch removes all the cargo ships and other non-fishing vessel activity, providing an unprecedented view of human interaction with the ocean.
“Global Fishing Watch is designed to empower all stakeholders, including governments, fishery managers, citizens and members of the fishing industry itself, so that together they may work to bring back a healthy, bio-diverse and maximally productive ocean,” said Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana. “By engaging citizens to hold their elected officials accountable for managing fisheries sustainably and for enforcing fishing rules, Global Fishing Watch will help bring back the world’s fisheries, protecting and enhancing the livelihoods of the hundreds of millions of people who depend on ocean fisheries for food and income.”
“So much of what happens out on the high seas is invisible, and that has been a huge barrier to understanding and showing the world what’s at stake for the ocean,” said John Amos, President and Founder of SkyTruth. “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.”
“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,” said Brian Sullivan, Program Manager, Google Ocean & Earth Outreach. “We are excited to contribute a Google-scale approach toward ocean sustainability and public awareness.”
To view the demo video or read Oceana’s initial report, please visit www.globalfishingwatch.org.