Google Partners With Green Organizations To Develop Technology That Tracks Over-Fishing

Over-fishing has become an increasing problem causing the depletion of various sea life and destruction of the ocean’s ecosystem. In an attempt to track illegal fishing and over-fishing, Google Earth Outreach has partnered up with environmental groups Oceana and SkyTruth to launch the Global Fishing Watch initiative.

The initiative is a technology platform, in the prototype stage, that will utilize satellite data to help make the activity of global fishing more transparent and help to inform the public about overfishing. The technology used provides a global feed of vessel locations acquired from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking data that is collected be satellite that reveals the movement of vessels over time.


“For the initial fishing activity map, the data is limited to 35 million detections from 3,125 vessels that we were able to independently verify were fishing vessels,” according to the website. “Global Fishing Watch then displays fishing effort in terms of the number of hours each vessel spent engaged in fishing behavior, and puts it all on a map that anyone with a web browser will be able to explore.”

The organization hopes that this will help seafood suppliers to see where the boats are fishing at, allow fisherman to show proof that they are obeying the law, and give researchers access to a multi-year record of trackable fishing activity. In addition, it hopes that the media and public will help act as watchdogs to improve management of global fisheries while watching fishing activity that is almost real-time and help authorities determine the location of illegal fishing faster and take the necessary actions against it.


“Global over-fishing is destroying ocean ecosystems,” says a statement on the organization’s official website. “Nearly one-third of marine fish stocks worldwide have been over-fished, and over 90 percent of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited or over-fished, according to a 2014 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.”

Do you think this initiative will help curtail over-fishing?

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