Fishing for data

The role of private data platforms in addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and overfishing

By Miren Gutierrez; Alfonso Daniels; Guy Jobbins

New technologies offer unique opportunities to support fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance, particularly for countries in Africa and other regions without the means to patrol their waters or enforce legislation against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and overfishing. This is the first comprehensive analysis of fisheries data platforms available. The briefing note highlights how developed countries and multilateral organisations have been slow to exploit these opportunities, and have failed to produce a single, effective, public global fisheries information tool. Although private initiatives tackling overfishing and IUU fishing using satellite and data technologies have emerged in recent years to bridge this gap, their potential is undermined by the limited size and insufficient quality of their datasets. Better data management and closer collaboration between these initiatives are needed, alongside improved fisheries governance and greater efforts to tackle corruption and curtail practices including the use of flags of convenience and secret fisheries agreements.

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