Environmental groups have developed a sprawling new surveillance system to help track illegal fishing across the globe. A prototype of the Global Fishing Watch system was announced today at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, and was spearheaded by Oceana, a conservationist group, with financial and engineering support from Google.
Using satellite data from SpaceQuest and software developed by SkyTruth, the system maps and displays the activity of more than 25,000 fishing ships from 2012 to 2013. Some ships were registered as commercial fishing boats, others behaved in ways that suggested fishing activity. This activity is highlighted on the map by orange and yellow dots.