Global Fishing Watch and Costa Rica sign agreement

Published on
May 17, 2018

Global Fishing Watch, a transparency platform established by Google, Oceana, and Skytruth to map the location of all commercial fishing vessels anywhere in the world, has just signed an agreement with Costa Rica.

The agreement between the Costa Rican government and Global Fishing Watch (GFW) provides for mapping and analysis of activities at sea and fishing activities in the country's Exclusive Economic Zone, a report in El Nuevo Diario said.

"The collaboration agreement with Global Fishing Watch is a step forward in strengthening the capabilities of our ministry for effective protection of fishery resources and surveillance of our maritime territory through state-of-the-art technology," Gustavo Mata, the minister of public security said in a statement.

GFW's technology platform will also serve to protect Costa Rica's marine protected areas, by making data available “for free for research, which allows for faster advances in the knowledge of how commercial fishing affects the world's fisheries,” El Nuevo Diario said.

GFW's website states that “by making our data freely available for research, we are enabling more rapid advances in our knowledge of how commercial fishing impacts the world’s fisheries. For the first time, governments, fishery management organizations, researchers, and the fishing industry have the information they need to protect critical marine habitats and make the oceans a more sustainable source of food for the world.”

The platform uses raw satellite and terrestrial tracking data from several sources. Its scientists then use machine learning to analyze the data for potentially illegal behaviours. GFW also provides a fishing activity map that is available for anyone to use and download datasets to see the tracks of commercial fishing vessels at sea.

At the request of the Costa Rican government, GFW took part in investigations that led to the widely publicized conviction of illegal Chinese fishers in the Galapagos in 2017.

Photo courtesy of The Costa Rica Star

Reporting from the Caribbean

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