Rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing Ocean Monitoring

Glob­al Fish­ing Watch

The uncon­trolled increase in fish­ing activ­i­ties in Europe has led to chron­ic over­fish­ing and left much of the marine life endan­gered. Despite some mea­sures to con­tain fish­ing effort and reduce at least the EU fleet capac­i­ty, there are not yet clear signs of an inver­sion of the exploita­tion trend. Fur­ther­more, destruc­tive fish­ing prac­tices, such as bot­tom trawl­ing, con­tribute to the release of car­bon — inten­si­fy­ing the cli­mate crisis.

Glob­al Fish­ing Watch is analysing fish­ing activ­i­ty in areas with sen­si­tive habi­tats, in sup­port of marine pro­tect­ed area des­ig­na­tion and enforce­ment. They use the pub­lic data avail­able on the EU fleet and merge it with oth­er detec­tion meth­ods such as Syn­thet­ic Aper­ture Radar (SAR), which will allow detec­tion of the dark fleet’ — those not shar­ing their posi­tion with Auto­mat­ic Infor­ma­tion Sys­tem (AIS). Using these meth­ods, GFW aims to bet­ter quan­ti­fy and map where bot­tom trawl­ing occurs and help fish­eries gov­er­nance and impacts on cli­mate change, by refin­ing the algo­rithms applied in glob­al sur­veil­lance data.

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