Satellite technology helps to provide transparency of fishingFishing should not be “out of sight, out of mind”. Good systems to monitor fishing activity and track fish catches are fundamental. Technically known as “monitoring, control, and surveillance” (MCS), these systems not only allow fisheries managers to know what is going on, they also provide the basic information consumers and seafood companies need for making responsible decisions about the fish they buy and sell. And, of course, strong MCS is the first line of defense against illegal fishing.
In 2012 WWF and its partner navama - technology for nature, launched a new project to make fishing activities more transparent. WWF evaluated data from the Automatic Identification System (AIS), a reliable satellite data provider, using a specific methodology developed by WWF and its partner navama, and found out it was possible to retrace the routes and activities of fishing vessels, including those suspected of illegal fishing. Through the use of the AIS, WWF wants to convince fisheries and fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) that governance rules, fisheries monitoring and control measures need to be improved.
AIS analysis results
Through AIS data, WWF and navama are able to:
- visualise specific routes of fishing vessels and recognise fishing activities
- notice if boundaries of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), closed fish nursery habitats and areas reserved for artisanal small-scale fisheries are respected
- enable transparency of fishing operations that will help to improve fisheries management
- locate harboring and potential transshipment positions
- detect on which vessels the AIS device was turned off
By using the AIS system, WWF has already obtained good results with fisheries and RFMOs.
Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing happens in all fisheries, from high seas to coastal zones. The global seafood supply chain is complex and often poorly regulated, enabling the origin and movements of illegal products to be concealed, making it more difficult for the fishing industry and consumers to ensure products are legally caught. More info here.
AIS is a satellite system widely used in commercial shipping to help ships avoid collision at sea. It relies on an open data access that allows anyone with an AIS transceiver to send and receive information, and is increasingly used by fishing vessels for at-sea safety and monitoring of fishing operations. Read more here.
Download background info about the AIS.
Download the AIS flyer.
Download the WWF Flyer: From vessel tracking to marine conservation.