Illegal fishers, beware: Google is watching.
The tech giant launched a new campaign on Friday that will use satellites to track data from over a thousand fishing vessels. The new program, called Global Fishing Watch, is a partnership between Google, Oceana and Skytruth.
The new technology will be used to visualize the movements of the global fishing fleet using Automatic Identification System (AIS), a network similar to GPS. The technology could be a saving grace for the world's fisheries, which are constantly depleted by the pressure of illegal and unreported fishing.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for an estimated 11 to 26 million tons of fish each year and $10 to $23 billion in economic losses for countries and local communities, according to Oceana.
In a blog for The Huffington Post, Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana, and actor Ted Danson, a member of the organization's board, write:
We believe that knowing when, where, and how boats are fishing is an essential step to help countries better manage the world's fisheries, many of which are drastically overfished. Nearly one-third of assessed marine fish stocks worldwide have been overfished, and 90 percent were either fully fished or overfished in 2011, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.