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Chile To Publish Vessel Tracking Data Through Global Fishing Watch

Credit: Global Fishing Watch
Credit: Global Fishing Watch

By The Maritime Executive 2019-05-15 18:18:48

The Chilean government has agreed to make its vessel tracking data publicly available through the Global Fishing Watch map, which tracks the movements of commercial fishing vessels in near real-time.

Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) has committed to greater transparency in fishing. “President Piñera’s government program instructed us to redouble our efforts to fight illegal fishing and work for the adequate management and sustainability of fishery resources,” said Alicia Gallardo, Sernapesca National Director. “Part of our strategy, in addition to reinforcing supervision, is to engage citizens and actors involved in protecting these resources.”

Global Fishing Watch has been working in partnership with environmental advocacy organization Oceana. It provides a view of global fishing activity by using machine learning to interpret data from various vessel tracking sources, including AIS and VMS data. While AIS is required for the largest vessels that catch a disproportionately large amount of fish, adding VMS data, which is required by some governments, to the map provides an even clearer picture of fishing vessel activity.

By publishing its VMS data to the Global Fishing Watch platform, Chile’s fishing fleet, comprising more than 700 fishing vessels and more than 800 vessels that provide support for aquaculture, will be viewable by anyone accessing the public map, including governments, fishery managers, seafood buyers, researchers and nonprofit organizations.

With a coastline of 2,500 miles, Chile is the world’s eighth largest fishing nation with approximately $6 billion in annual seafood exports. In 2017, the Chilean government established three marine protected areas, which cover 450,000 square miles and include a rich diversity of marine life.

In 2017, Indonesia became the first nation to make its proprietary VMS data available via Global Fishing Watch’s platform – instantly putting 5,000 smaller commercial fishing vessels that do not use AIS on the map. Peru followed in October 2018 in sharing its VMS data, and Costa Rica, Panama and Namibia have made public commitments to join the platform.

Public sharing of VMS data, including lists of authorized vessels, helps improve surveillance and encourages vessels to comply with regulations. Unauthorized vessels, and those with a history of non-compliance, can be identified more easily and prioritized for inspections, while vessels that turn off tracking devices can be held accountable when they come into port.

“The impact of over-fishing can’t be overstated – it threatens the health of our oceans, our global food supply, and the environment as a whole,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Action. “At Bloomberg Philanthropies, our Vibrant Oceans Initiative is helping to rebuild fisheries and bring greater transparency to the industry. The Chilean government, by making its vessel data available to the world, is leading the way toward healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable oceans.”