Transparent Seas Project - Glossary

  • AIS -- AIS stands for “Automatic Identification System”, an inexpensive vessel tracking system widely used in commercial shipping to help ships avoid collisions at sea. AIS relies on an open data standard that allows anyone with an AIS transceiver to send or collect AIS information. AIS is increasingly used by fishing vessels for at-sea safety and activity monitoring. Read more
  • CDS -- “Catch Documentation System” — the mechanisms put in place in some fisheries to record catches and landings of fish.
"illegal” = fishing contrary to the laws of any nation or international body having jurisdiction over fishing activity
“unreported” = fishing activities (or catches) that are not properly reported to relevant national or international authorizes
“unregulated” = fishing that uses loopholes in international law to avoid being regulated, or that takes place where no regulations exist. 

  • MCS -- MCS stands for “Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance”, and it refers to the suite of mechanisms and activities used to monitor and regulate fishing. CDS can be one part of MCS, but MCS also includes vessel registration, fishing licenses, at-sea observers, satellite monitoring, mandatory logbooks, etc. The term MCS also includes enforcement activities, such as at-sea inspections and the prosecution of violators. 
  • Pirate fishing -- Pirate fishing is essentially synonymous with serious and purposeful IUU fishing (i.e., not including minor technical violations, such as being a week late paying for your fishing license). We mean criminal (or “extra-legal”) activity carried out my modern-day pirates who plunder the oceans without abiding by the national and international laws created to protect our environment and marine resources.
  • Traceability -- Traceability means product tracking throughout the supply chain. In the global seafood system, traceability is what it takes for retailers and consumers to know basic facts about fish products—including where, how, and by whom they were caught, and whether they were fished legally. WWF is advocating for "bait to plate” traceability, which means tracking fish from the moment they come out of the water all the way to the final consumer.  Currently, only a tiny fraction of seafood meets the traceability test.
  • Transparency-- Transparency is a bit different from “traceability”. It means allowing stakeholders to have direct access to trustworthy information about fishing and fish products. A product can be fully traceable, but if only private companies have access to the information, then the system is not transparent. WWF believes that transparency is essential for accountability, and for giving consumers the ability to make informed choices.  WWF recognizes that businesses sometimes have a legitimate need for “commercial secrecy” (i.e., not to tell their competitors everything they do). Balancing transparency with other forms of accountability, such as government oversight or third-party certification, is an important challenge.

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