Victory | December 14, 2023

Spain Sanctions 25 Fishing Vessels for Disabling Public Tracking Devices

The Government of Spain sanctioned 25 Spanish-flagged fishing vessels for repeatedly disabling their automatic identification system (AIS). The sanctions, with fines of up to €60,000 (US$65,000), are a direct result of Oceana’s analysis and close collaboration with the Spanish administration. Oceana found the sanctioned vessels appeared to be fishing near Argentinian waters between 2018 and 2021 with their AIS trackers turned off. These vessels spent nearly twice as much time with AIS devices off as they did visibly fishing.

Vessels are known to turn off their AIS trackers to avoid being seen, possibly to engage in fishing that is not authorized. Broadcasting AIS vessel location data is required by Spain and the European Union to guarantee safety at sea.