The ocean is the source of some 260 million jobs, fuels economies and prosperity; provides us with food, protein, oxygen, and compounds to produce medicines; regulates the climate, absorbs much of the air and water pollution generated by 7 billion people, and offers a great variety of environmental services that we still do not value enough.
One of the most harmful phenomena our oceans are currently enduring is the massive and relentless overexploitation of fishing resources and the marine ecosystems degradation due to its widespread excessive occurrence.
● 90% of all large predatory fish including tuna, sharks, swordfish, cod and halibut have been fished-out
● Of the 600 marine commercial fish stocks monitored by FAO:
3% are underexploited
20% are moderately exploited
52% are fully exploited
17% are overexploited
7% are depleted
1% are recovering from depletion
● 27 million tons of fish are discarded at catch, thus thrown back to sea each year
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a crucial obstacle to sustainability worldwide (5). It has been recognized as one of the greatest threats not only to marine ecosystems, but also to local communities which depend on them. Organized crime has made its way into fisheries. Often IUU vessels are also engaged in the smuggling and trafficking of arms, people, and drugs.
One of the major problems to achieve an optimal management of the fishing activity is no more. The lack of a Unique Vessel Identifier (UVI) database that allows for proper compliance scrutiny has been corrected thanks to FishSpektrum World’s Fishing Vessel Database.
The FishSpektrum Project (FSK) is a multidisciplinary “big-data” project focused in improving knowledge on global fisheries activity and historical footprint that combines the identification of vessels and their fishing capacities as well as their targeted fishing grounds.
FSK therefore becomes a very efficient tool in order to ascertain real fishing effort as well as allowing almost-real-time monitoring of target fishing activities. It allows among other items, the following:
1 Straightforward analysis of cumulative presence of fishing fleets in the global seas as per 1-natural-year periods (2009 to 2017)
2 Straightforward analysis of cumulative presence of fishing fleets in the global seas as per 1-natural-year periods (2009 to 2017)
3 Data disaggregated by fishing gear type and aggregated by continent of flag. Possible geographical groupings: North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Europe, Middle East, rest of Asia, Oceania. Need to assess whether attaching Russia to Europe or to Asia. It’s been proposed to add a grouping for “flags of convenience” (FoC). Suggested it’s based on an objective criterion: e.g. fleets from countries listed in the EU IUU Regulation and its US equivalent. Could add vessels listed in the IUU lists of global RFMOs.
4 Geostatistic techniques to be applied to try identify areas subject to particular fishing intensity (global fishing hot spots); try identifying fisheries concerned based on publicly available data
5 Besides the crude analysis of intensity of presence of fishing vessels, an exercise may be developed to weight vessel presence intensity based on a relative measure of fishing potential per fleet segment (defined by gear and length). It’s been proposed to work out a scale (e.g. 1 to 5) based on a literature review per global fleet segment, then applied this as a factor to weight individual vessel presence. The outcome will be a first picture of fishing intensity (or rather a proxy thereof), that we can analyse based on geographic origin, etc.
6 Results to be discussed in light of known fleet/AIS availability gaps per year, to identify and rule out any artifactual trends/patterns
7 Focus on robust qualitative trends/patterns
8 Compare to Anticamara et al 2011, Walters et al 2013 & other Searound & FAO products, etc. for fishing effort and catch
9 Also, second focus on tracks of all reefer/carrying vessels registered to transport fish: first ever globally georeferenced assessment of trade pathways physically linking major fisheries with their markets.
FishSpektrum is conceived as an Independent Integrated Fisheries Information System (IIFIS), providing a multidisciplinary data approach as well as enabling unified timely and accurate collection, management, and use of marine fisheries data to provide value-added services to fisheries stakeholders for improved sustainability of our fast depleting fisheries resources.
Fishspektrum components / The Krakken
• FSK’s core is based on a Unique Fishing Vessel and Fish Carrier Vessel Identifier Database (UFVFCID or Krakken) that currently accounts for some 1.697.327 fishing-unit references and should reach the 2 million mark by the end of 2018, thus already the single largest and most robust existing fishing vessel database in the world, largely doubling FAO’s Fishing Vessels Finder (FVF) data content.
The single largest and most robust existing fishing vessel database in the world.
• Krakken’s latest (Jan. 2017) version, contains 1.697.327 unique vessel references from 185 different fishing nations out of a total 2.9 million identified fishing units that will be gradually incorporated into the database after thorough data crosschecking and validation procedures.
Krakken’s latest (Jan. 2017) update, contains 1.697.327 unique vessel references from 185 different fishing nations.
• Each unique vessel reference contains a total of 128 specific data fields, thus allowing a powerful vessel ID data-crosschecking and proper identification of potential duplication of vessels disseminated by multiple sources, as well as vessel misidentification and/or target-vessel erroneous-discarding.
• FSK Kraken’s first version was created back in April 2009. It is based on data from over 100 existing public records and referenced information on active and no longer active fishing vessels throughout the World (IMO, FRV-EU, FAO, RFMOs, ITU, National Ship Registers, Ship classification Societies, IUU Red Lists, etc.) FSK collects such data and homogenizes it, thus adapting such data to conform with FSK’s own data format criteria.
• Each ship reference is tagged with a FSK Unique Vessel Identification Code (UVIC) along with the rest of existing identification codes such as: IMO, IRCS, MMSI, National Matriculation, among others.
• Thanks to fishing vessels’ dynamic positioning data, FSK has the capability of analyzing their real activity, either individually, by target fishery and/or by fleet segments. Such data may nevertheless be analyzed as from January 2009, that is the year as from which, recorded geo-referencing data is available.
• FSK uses AIS (T&Sat) multi-slot messages as well as available VMS data, via long-term or punctual agreements with different providers, depending on concrete necessities for each case of study or project.
• FVHF broadcasted static data from AIS (T&Sat) multi-slot messages, identifying any given fishing vessel by MMSI, IMO hull number or IRCS, is automatically correlated and crosschecked against FSK’s Kraken’s pertinent records.
Why to develop a database?
One of the major problems to achieve an optimal management of the fishing activity worldwide, is the lack of a global Unique Vessel Identifier (UVI) database that allows for proper compliance scrutiny.
The Project core of FishSpektrum is based on a fishing and fish carrier vessel database that currently contains 1.697.327 unique vessel references from 185 different fishing nations out of a total 2.9 million identified fishing units thus the single largest and most robust fishing vessel database in the world.
FishSpektrum´s database currently provides comprehensive characterizations of fishing fleets from around the world, as well as 128 specific information items per vessel.
FishSpektrum fishing vessel database (currently the largest in the world, almost doubling FAO’s Fishing Vessels Finder (FVF)) also contains updated and detailed information on sanitary conditions for those vessels authorized by the different national/multilateral food safety authorities/agencies to export their catches to foreign specific markets.
It is a powerful vessel ID data-crosschecking tool, allowing proper identification of potential duplication of vessels disseminated by multiple sources as well as vessel misidentification and/or target-vessel erroneous-discarding.
VHF broadcasted static data from AIS (T&Sat) multi-slot messages, identifying any given fishing vessel by MMSI, IMO hull number or IRCS, is automatically correlated and crosschecked against FishSpektrum’s fishing vessel database pertinent records.
Such procedure allows to discriminate AIS (T&Sat) data for specific targets of interest, provided by various portals and satellites/nano-satellites constellations , from data-noise pertaining to non-fishing vessels though posing as such; namely recreational fishing vessels, as well as from dummy vessels’ MMSIs.
Likewise, it allows to search, positively identify and retrieve AIS (T&Sat) MMSI tracking-data for fishing vessels posing as other types of vessels, namely yachts, towing vessels or undefined, often flying Flags of Convenience (FoC) .
It therefore has the capacity to operate as an active fishing vessel AIS (T&Sat) MMSI multi-slot message static data retrieving and crosscheck system as opposed to existing online passive AIS (T&Sat)-based systems , for which operative fishing unit presence and/or density values may be biased by as much as 30%.
Five years ahead of any other potential project of its kind being currently developed, FishSpektrum’s great competitive advantage is its potential use as a global fisheries mapping and tracking platform conceived as an interactive, user-friendly, multi-layer, historical fisheries atlas based on available VMS, AIS (T&Sat).
Capacities and opportunities
- FSK positions itself as managing Kraken: the single largest and most robust existing Unique Fishing Vessel and Fish Carrier Vessel Identifier Database (UFVFCID) in the world, updated on a yearly standard two-fold basis.
- FSK data can be integrated in different Db platforms and is compatible with all existing GIS tools.
- The FishSpektrum Project system is designed to cover all marine fisheries of the globe thus to become a prospective platform for optimal spatio-temporal management of the world fisheries.
- FSK is a powerful state-of–the-art fisheries digital geo-referencing platform that will enable fisheries scientists, students and managers to specifically investigate the fine details of fishing behaviour and dynamics for any given fishery, by species, fleet typologies, fishing-gear, fishing-fleet flag, geographic fishing ground, period or season. It will also allow estimating the distribution of landings at far higher precision than has been possible in the past.
- This will improve knowledge on the real impacts of fishing activities worldwide as well as implementing the enforcement an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) that takes into account essential fish habitats, spawning, feeding and nursery grounds, trophic interactions in key food webs, as well as their implications for fish condition and contamination.
- An important number of specific plug-in spatio-temporal GIS analysis algorithms, rendering, quantitative and environmental risk assessment analysis tools as well as fisheries management applications are currently being developed in conjunction with:- Our academic partner: The University of Alicante’s Department of Marine Biology & Marine Sciences;
– Our technological partners: MarineTraffic (Greece) and CartoDB (Spain).
- Such plug-ins will allow the FishSpektrum Project to become a state-of-the-art prospective platform capable of proposing the following deliverables, among others:
1. To automatically discriminate, on a trip case-by-case basis, fishing vessel individual transit/steaming tracks from individual hauling tracks and wherever possible, crosschecked with Logbook data;
2. The mapping of fisheries’ 4D footprint estimates (spatial location and density of fishing effort) on benthic and/or pelagic diversity in conjunction with CPUEs, landings and species abundance metadata from a nebulae of fisheries surveys, as well as from other validating auxiliary information from logbooks, observer programs and seabed habitat metadata mapping projects;
3. Pertinent analysis of illegal fishing phenomena as well as of RFMO ruling compliance implementation for any given fishery or specific fishing ground;
4. The 3D mapping of marine protected areas (MPAs) and no-take zones, their interactions with local fisheries;
5. The 3D mapping of other marine resources such as oil and gas fields (licensed exploration or fully operative blocks) and the interactions with fisheries.
- Such spatio-temporal geographic information system (GIS) tools are to use advanced API interfacing.
Unique Fishing Vessel Identifier DataBase Statistics 2017
Amongst the many applications of FishSpektrum, we would like to highlight the following:
- Support to fisheries management. Fishing vessel tracks will serve to identify, map and evaluate specific fisheries.
- Support to every kind of fisheries research work.
- Control of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities.
- Control and management of Marine Protected Areas to a higher level of effectiveness and efficiency by enforcement agencies or departments.
- Fishing ship/fleet control and surveillance by ship-owner companies and/or ship operators.
- Allow the public opinion at large to visualize fisheries historical footprints throughout the world’s oceans.
- Provide evidence for conflict resolution (compliance officers, insurance companies, etc…)
FishSpektrum is not only a collection of coordinated AIS (T&Sat), VMS and VDS available data from fishing vessels, but a unified/integrated data services business solution which will encompass a second-to-none strategic insight in the decision making process within the globally expanding market of fishing shares and ITQs, so that users and stakeholders can make informed sustainability choices and decisions.
It is also intended to optimize processes across the fisheries value chain resulting in reduced by-catch and wasted discards, reduced environmental impact of fisheries activities, cost reduction, better prices and more uniform supply matching demand.
Target users and potential clients
· International Fisheries Organizations,
· Governments (national fisheries/marine environment enforcement agencies),
· Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs),
· Regional Fishery Bodies (RFBs),
· Research Centres,
. Development agencies,
· Fisheries Managers, compliance agencies and associated scientific research organizations,
· Private and institutional investors,
. Insurance companies,
· Fishing companies,
. Ship owners,
. Ship operators.