Canada and Global Fishing Watch Trying to Save the Oceans

Collision 2019 - Day One
21 May 2019; Stephen Leahy, International Environmental Journalist, National Geographic, left, with, Andrew Sharpless, CEO, Oceanaon centre and Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary, Government of Canada, on Planet : Tech Stage during day one of Collision 2019 at Enercare Center in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Collision via Sportsfile

Our oceans are vital to our existence and nobody knows that better than Andrew Sharpless of Oceana. He and Sean Casey the Parliamentary Secretary were on stage at the Collision Conference presenting their efforts on saving the worlds oceans. Canada has gone from protecting only 1% of its coast line to 10% in less than a decade, hopefully this will continue. Our coasts are great spaces for marine life to lay eggs and eat.

The key takeaway from the panel was the really cool global fishing map which tracks the location of every fishing vessel on the planet! The ships are tracked using regional Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), so the some of the data might not be accessible depending on which countries abide by the standard broadcasting rules.

Tracking the ships helps governments and NGOs enforce rules and regulations. Casey pointed out that tracking the ships will also help with identifying the polluters who drop their nets (accidentally) and leave them to drift (most of the plastic waste in the oceans comes from fishing activity).

Just a decade ago, building an accurate picture of the commercial fishing across the globe would have been impossible. Today, thanks to advances in satellite technology, cloud computing and machine learning, Global Fishing Watch is making it a reality.

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