BIG DATA. NGOs Global Fishing Watch Sky Truth and the National Geographic Society with its Pristine Project seas as well as the American Universities of Santa Barbara and Stanford and Canadian Dalhousie, with the support of Google, pooled their skills to aggregate the billions of data provided by the satellite monitoring of fishing boats. fishing . Work that could not be done sooner. " Just a few years ago, we had neither the computing power, nor a sufficient number of satellites in orbit, nor the techniques to perform machine learning of this magnitude on large data sets, [19459014explainsinastatementBrianSullivanco-authorofthestudyfor Google Earth Outreach. All three are now at our disposal, and this has allowed us to dramatically improve our ability to follow and understand human interactions with our natural environment . "
This is indeed twenty years that the vessel monitoring system exists on a worldwide scale, at least for industrial vessels over 36 meters (in Europe the gauge is 12 meters since 2012). This monitoring is intended to combat illegal unreported and unregulated fishing which represents nearly 25 billion dollars a year. But the lack of computing power prevented you from having a global view of this activity. The results just published Science show a sector that is far from effective and sustainable
Increasing fishing effort for stagnant catches
MANAGEMENT. The exploitation of 22 billion data recorded between 2012 and 2016 gives an assessment of 70 000 registered fishing vessels cruising 55% of the surface of the seas. This represents an area four times greater than agriculture, a comparison which nevertheless deserves to be weighted: the fishing activity exploits a wild resource unlike agriculture. The energy effort is spinning. In 2016, 37 million hours of fishing were observed and the ships traveled more than 460 million kilometers "is 600 times the return distance from the Earth to the Moon ," note the researchers . The energy consumed represents 20 billion kWh per year. However, catches have stagnated for twenty years around 90 million annual tons of fish. All data are available on this graphical interface
The global ecological footprint of industrial fishing. © Global fishing watch
With such precision, researchers can know the days off from fishermen around the world! But they can also see if there is a match between fishing effort and natural life cycles such as fish reproduction periods or migrations. Profitability comes at the expense of sustainable and reasonable management of the resource, note the authors of the study, although satellite monitoring reveals areas where fishing is managed properly. This is the main teaching of the study and its essential utility. Global managers now have a tool to better manage the exploitation of the marine resource. "I think most people will be surprised to learn that for vast expanses of ocean, we did not really know where the fishing was going," explains in Global Fishing's release. Watch Chris Costello, co-author of the study and economist at the University of Santa Barbara, California. This new real-time dataset will be instrumental in establishing better management of the world's oceans. "