Projects: Research & Analysis

FishSpektrum develops cross-sector partnerships to promote a better understanding, analysis and management of the fishing activity worldwide.
It project capacities are enhanced thanks to the support and combined participation in research projects spearheaded by an array of diverse scientific bodies and companies.



Cumulative-biases in fisheries big-data mapping models have a domino effect that inevitably culminates in independent innovative and worthy technological projects failing to deliver the scientific rigour that is expected of them. Worse still, they open up such projects to the charge that the over or under-reporting in their findings and the lack of rigour in their statistical analysis is down to politically biased vigilantism, skewed more towards media environmental activism rather than a true reflection of the situation at sea. Moving from public-facing awareness-raising tools to credible independent Monitoring Control & Surveillance (MCS) systems that help bring rogue fishing industry to order, such is the challenge facing the independent fisheries MCS intelligence community.




“Science, technology and society initiative to minimize unwanted catches in european fisheries (MINOUW)”

FishSpektrum is a technology linked-partner in the MINOUW project, a Research and Innovation Action (RIA) of Europe´s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme addressing topic SFSK-9-2014: Towards a gradual elimination of discards in European fisheries. A Consortium of 15 beneficiaries and 4 linked parties participate in the project actions. The Consortium includes fisheries technologists, fisheries scientists, universities, a non-governmental organization and local fisheries managers. It has a budget of ca. 6 M € for a duration on 4 years (March 2015 – Feb. 2019). [More info…]




“Western Africa’s missing fish”                                   [Download Report]


Overfishing in the world’s oceans is at the centre of a crisis of sustainability. Nowhere is that crisis more visible thanin western Africa. Current rates of extraction are driving several species towards extinction while jeopardising the livelihoods of artisanal fishing communities across a broad group of countries, including Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mauritania. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is at the heart of the problem. Drawing on a unique satellite tracking database, this report presents new evidence of the scale and pattern of IUU fishing. It focuses on ‘reefers’ – large-scale commercial vessels receiving and freezing fish at sea and at port – and the use of containers. We provide evidence of practices that compromise the effectiveness of multilateral governance rules aimed at curtailing IUU fishing and promoting sustainable, legal practices. Proposals set out in the report identify pathways for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to greater transparency and sustainable management of fisheries which avoids the irreversible depletion and possible extinction of species, as well as the preservation of the marine ecosystem where the fishing activities take place for countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Infografia ODI

FSK has reached a strategic alliance with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI – London) in order to participate in methodology proposals and the execution of projects linked to the characterization of fishing activities in the African continent.
porCausa is committed to public service journalism supported by data and multidisciplinary teams.





The combination of FishSpektrum´s fisheries big-data analysis capacity with CartoDB´s geolocation intelligence and rendering tools, creates second-to-none geospatial visualizations that enable new approaches to fisheries analysis, understanding and proper management of fishing activities.

“Bluefin tuna weight frequencies from selected market and auction data recovered by GBYP”


The first two forms of auction, trade and market data of Atlantic bluefin tuna for the period of 1995 to 2012, gathered within the scope of the ICCAT GBYP, were formally approved by the ICCAT SCRS in 2014. These data were further filtered excluding less reliable records according to the standards set by the SCRS BFT Species Group in 2015 and finally a unique dataset on 209,491 individual bluefin tuna weights was created, with all relevant information on fish product and fishing operation. The dataset was used to develop extensive series of graphics on weight frequencies, based on fish origin, year, fishing area and fishing gear. These selected market data have potentially great value because they might fill some important gaps in ICCAT data collections and therefore serve for improved stock assessment.






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 “Global fishing footprint” [Work in progress]

First analysis ever at global scale of cumulative presence of geographically referred fishing fleets activity as per 1-natural-year periods (2009 to 2013).


Facultad de Ciencias del Mar [FCM-UA]






Global fishing presence map for Q2&3 2013

“Analysis of the 2012 purseine bluefin tuna fishing season in the mediterranean based on ais geolocation and ICCAT data”


The present report analyzes the 2012 PS BlueFin Tuna summer fishing season inside the Mediterranean Sea, based on PS BFT fishing vessels’ AIS geolocation data and pertinent ICCAT 2012 BFT PS catch data. The study crosschecks such AIS-based information with all relevant ICCAT BCD, ROP and CoC datasets, reports and documents. Resulting discrepancies and/or potential mismatches, suggestive of potential IUU activity, are thoroughly documented.


Plotting of the 2012 purseine BlueFin Tuna fishing season in the Mediterranean Sea, based on AIS geo-location.

“A compliance assessment regarding GFCM adopted spatial measures for the Mediterranean Sea trawling fleet during 2012, based on individual fishing vessel’s AIS geolocation data”. (September 2013).


The present report (Phase I of II) assesses the bottom and mid-water trawling fishing fleets operating inside the Mediterranean Sea during the year 2012 by means of such fishing vessels’ AIS geo-location data. For the first time ever, using the FishSpektrum Project digital fisheries geo-referencing and database platform, the spatial extent of such fleet has been mapped throughout the Mediterranean Sea for the entire year 2012. Vessels’ tracks have then been compared with the geographical boundaries established by GFCM as spatial closures, as well as with pertinent trawling no-take coastal areas unilaterally established by Mediterranean coastal States’ national fisheries authorities. Trawling activity inside Fishing Protected Areas (FPAs) or Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) established by EU MS or other Mediterranean coastal States are also assessed. Though potential IUU trawling fishing activity may be specifically inferred from individual trawling vessel tracks inside such defined areas, Phase I of this report rather focuses on quantitatively evaluating the importance of trawl fishing inside such coastal areas as a de-facto widespread phenomena.

Mediterranean Sea Chart showing the geoplotting of
tracks for active trawling vessels during 2012 against
no-take areas’ boundaries and EEZs

“Frozen eastern bluefin tuna (Thunnus Thynnus thynnus) shipping assessment from 2009 to 2013, based on individual reefer vessel’s AIS geo-location data”.


The present report assesses frozen eastern bluefin tuna – Thunnus Thynnus thynnus- (EBFT) shipping from 2009 to 2013. Frozen processed bluefin tuna amounts to some 80% of total trade for this species. Such commodity is shipped to Asian end-markets by means of freezer-vessels (Reefers). Reefer vessels engaged in such activity must be registered and duly authorized by ICCAT. For the first time ever, using the FishSpektrum Project digital fisheries geo-referencing and database platform, the spatial and temporal extent of such fleet of vessels, operating inside the Mediterranean Sea and in the vicinity of Moroccan, Spanish and Portuguese tuna trap nets, from 2009 to 2013, has been mapped throughout the World for the entire period 2009 to 2013. Such spatio-temporal mapping was done by means of such reefer vessels’ Automatic Identification System (AIS) geo-location data: Ships’ radio transmitted static and dynamic data acquired through terrestrial antennas and/or by satellite. Tuna ranches and trap set nets have been georeferenced worldwide (Principally inside the Mediterranean Sea, Mexico, Australia and Japan). Principal points and/or areas where EBFT was clearly or possibly loaded onboard such reefer vessels, as well as where possible EBFT offloading/transhipment activity took place, are dully geo-referenced. Compliance issues such as points and/or areas where possible at-sea EBFT loading activity took place, are also georeferenced.

Fish-carrier-vessels tracks in W Pacific during 2013