How Satellites and Big Data Can Help to Save the Oceans by Douglas McCauley: Yale Environment 360
A key question ahead is whether governments will realize the value of this new data and act on calls from the scientific community to require that more vessels carry these observation sensors and use them properly. We estimate that approximately 70 percent of all large fishing vessels worldwide are already equipped with these publicly accessible tracking systems. Some captains, unfortunately, misuse the tool by turning it off after leaving port or failing to enter proper vessel identification information into the system. All such noncompliance issues are readily detectable by big data processing.
If political will can be mustered to close these loopholes, these observation technologies could shed an immense amount of light on our now-dark oceans.
Global Fishing Watch is the product of a technology partnership between SkyTruth, Oceana, and Google that is designed to show all of the trackable fishing activity in the ocean. This interactive web tool – currently in prototype stage – is being built to enable anyone to visualize the global fishing fleet in space and time. Global Fishing Watch will reveal the intensity of fishing effort around the world, one of the stressors contributing to the precipitous decline of our fisheries.