Catching the catchers
November 15, 2014 9:49 AM   Subscribe

GlobalFishingWatch is a new tool that shows every traceable commercial fishing boat in the world nearly real time. Blinking lights video with a narrator. 9 out of every 10 big fish in the ocean is caught by humans.
posted by stbalbach (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
So, wait, this is a glossy presentation website, but I can't actually use the thing it's about? That sucks.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:59 AM on November 15, 2014


For context, there should be a video with a glowy heatmap showing people fed by those fish. Perhaps emphasized by relative poverty level.
posted by Nelson at 10:04 AM on November 15, 2014


So, wait, this is a glossy presentation website, but I can't actually use the thing it's about?

It's on the roadmap, supposedly: "Although the system currently displays voyages from nearly a year ago, 'the plan is that we will build out a public release version that will have near-real-time data,' said Jackie Savitz, Oceana's VP for U.S. oceans."
posted by effbot at 10:05 AM on November 15, 2014




This fishing map is based on AIS data, the same data used in this live map of global ship positions. What I can't quite figure out is how they get so much data in open water. The public maps I've seen of AIS data only have ships close to shore, I think because they rely on ground-based amateur radio receivers. The fishing map mentions "collected by satellite" which explains how they get open water data, but I wonder whose satellites and whether that data is more broadly available.

The glowy heatmap thing only looks nice like this if you use a lot of historical data. I think it's a reasonable presentation. But I agree it'd be fun to see this in real time too.
posted by Nelson at 10:38 AM on November 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


The problem here is that this only shows the vessels that want to be tracked.
A recent report shows that ships worldwide are increasingly manipulating data to conceal their identity, location and destination, undermining the ability to track their activities.
posted by adamvasco at 10:43 AM on November 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dammit! I wanted to stalk the Deadliest Catch guys!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:08 AM on November 15, 2014


A recent report shows that ships worldwide are increasingly manipulating data

Yes it would seem trivial for a pirate fishing boat to turn off the AIS beacon. OTOH there may be ways to regulate based on missing AIS data. The AIS data would be insurance against claims of fish piracy so for legit operators there is reason to use it, and for them to report other rouge boats they see who are not transmitting. All this assumes regulation exists and enforcement.
posted by stbalbach at 11:36 AM on November 15, 2014


I'm guessing this would not include the Chinese zombie fishing fleet permanently stationed off the coasts of Africa.
posted by acb at 1:25 PM on November 15, 2014


More than 20% of wild caught seafood imported into the US–worth at least $1.3 billion–is likely illegal.
And yes the Chinese are expert at illegal fishing. They have a converted Super tanker.
posted by adamvasco at 2:40 PM on November 15, 2014


The One That Got Away (Size Matters) from MinuteEarth
posted by timfinnie at 6:48 PM on November 15, 2014


Jesus Christ. Whatever happened to the concept of a "fighting chance"?
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2014


Here's an article from The Verge on this map. Notes this system was developed specifically to highlight illegal fishing.

Also answers my question about where the data is coming from: "satellite data from SpaceQuest and software developed by SkyTruth". SpaceQuest operates remote sensing satellites, specifically for AIS to track ship positions. They sell the AIS data so I'm not surprised to find no free real-time map.
posted by Nelson at 9:31 AM on November 17, 2014


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