Global Fishing Watch, an international nonprofit devoted to transparency in seafood, and the PACÍFICO Foundation, composed of four environmental funds, announced 11 October that the organizations have entered into a formal collaboration.
A new memorandum of understanding, signed 11 October, will see the two organizations collaborate with Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama to increase the transparency of the countries' fisheries at a regional level.
“GFW and PACÍFICO’s goal is to support the countries’ work to strengthen fisheries surveillance and the use of technology - building their capacity to use GFW data,” the two organizations said in a joint release.
The countries have expressed interest in increasing the transparency of fisheries in the region. Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Environment and Energy signed a letter of intent in May to make the country’s vessel monitoring system data public through Global Fishing Watch. Peru also made its data public in June 2017.
“This collaboration with PACÍFICO will help us amplify the leadership being shown by governments in the region to address fisheries management,” Global Fishing Watch Transparency Program Director Leyla Nikjou said. “Transparency is crucial for good stewardship of our oceans – to fight illegal fishing, to protect fish stocks and livelihoods, and to increase the safety and well-being of fishers. By embracing transparency, nations have a more cost effective way of monitoring vessels and can recognize fishers that comply with the law while exposing those who do not.”
When implemented, the area will cover nearly 770,000 square miles of the Central Eastern Tropical Pacific, which includes waters off of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador.
The partnership will encourage government agencies to share vessel-tracking data, and publish it on Global Fishing Watch’s map. The two organizations will use the data to map fishing patters and effort within the waters, and analyze that data to identify and prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
“The agreement with Global Fishing Watch will strengthen the capacities of our countries to guarantee an effective sustainable management and conservation of fisheries for the benefit of fishermen, coastal communities and nature, enhance surveillance of our marine territories through high-end technology, which will be a stepping stone for transparency efforts in the region,” PACÍFICO's Zdenka Piskulich said.