Launched in 2021, the pilot version of Global Fishing Watch Marine Manager, an online portal to help governments, and others monitor activity across marine environment, has reached a new milestone.
Designed by Global Fishing Watch and Dona Bertarelli, philanthropist, ocean advocate and founder of Marine Manager, in response to a cascade of threats facing the oceans, from illegal fishing and related crimes to climate change, ocean acidification and mismanaged fisheries, the platform reaches another milestone in that journey with the global release of Marine Manager. It includes expanded access and a suite of new features that the team is confident will help improve governance of biodiversity, fisheries, sensitive habitats and maritime activity around the globe.
“In our brief but exciting history working to shed greater visibility on what’s happening on the ocean, we’ve learned that one must meet challenges with the tools at hand, even while working to perfect them” wrote Tony Long, chief executive officer of Global Fishing Watch in an article explaining how the project started in 2021. He added “we launched the pilot version of Global Fishing Watch Marine Manager, an online portal to help governments, researchers, conservation advocates and others monitor activity throughout the world’s marine environment, as well as design and implement protected areas, we knew we were committing to a journey of continual improvement.”
According to Tony Long, “before the launch of this free tool, fisheries officials, maritime authorities and ocean scientists could access data from multiple sources – for example, vessel activity data from one provider, sea-surface temperature readings from another and biological information from yet another.
"But these disparate bits of information were typically static, in different formats and difficult to merge, so an analyst spent more time connecting the dots than making sense of them. And for countries with few resources, even learning whom to ask for such data often proved to be a daunting obstacle. This posed significant challenges in marine spatial planning and also presented difficulties when it came to managing protected areas that had already been designated. “
Global Fishing Watch Marine Manager was seen as the tool able to offer a holistic view of what was happening on the water at any given time, a solution the team behind the project deemed important for the people who design and oversee marine protected areas (MPAs). That’s the story behind the creation of the online portal.
New collaboration with Google Earth Engine
The team also understood that they were committing to a journey of continual improvement, and that’s what this new milestone confirms: with the global release of Marine Manager, which includes expanded access and a suite of new features that the team is confident will help improve governance of biodiversity, fisheries, sensitive habitats and maritime activity around the globe.
To increase transparency and accountability in ocean management, the developers have made the tool available to anyone with an internet connection, allowing users to set up workspaces for any area globally. This will enable more people to access and use the data and insights available, promote greater collaboration and information sharing among researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders, and also help to build a broader understanding of global fishing patterns and trends to implement protected areas and improve management of them.
Some of the new features result from a new collaboration with Google Earth Engine, but this latest release of Marine Manager significantly raises the bar for remote monitoring and analysis of what’s happening throughout the global marine environment. Tony Long writes that “while we’re proud of how the portal has grown and are celebrating this launch, we’ll also continue working to improve the tool—for the ultimate benefit of the ocean and the billions of people who rely on it.”
To read the full story follow the link to the Global Fishing Watch website.