Mapping fishing activities worldwide, just got more sophisticated for better results. A group of scientists hailing from UC Santa Barbara collaborated with Global Fishing Watch, Pristine Sea Project, SkyTruth, Dalhousie University, Stanford University, and Google to understand the extent of fishing worldwide.

Leveraging machine learning, satellite tracking, and common ship-tracking technology they kept a track of every vessel and its hourly activity. The findings were published in a reputed journal, titled Science.

From Amount of Fish to Details of Every Boat – the Technology Throws Light on Everything

With all the latest technologies, it would be easier to keep a tab on the oceans’ fish count, the fishermen’s activities, and also the ecosystems. It has been found that the overall area of the ocean fished could be higher than 55 percent. This is owing to some fishing areas which are not properly covered by satellites or are in exclusive economic zones that have lower number of vessels.

The team of scientists leveraged machine learning to study patterns in 22 billion messages that were broadcasted publicly from the AIS positions of vessels between 2012 and 2016 to find out what is driving commercial fishing behavior.

From the movement patterns in the vessels, the Global Fishing Watch algorithm spotted over 70,000 commercial fishing vessels. Not just that, it also deduced their sizes and engine powers and also the type of fishing they were engaged in. It uncovered where and for how long they fished.

The dataset offers such a high-level resolution on fishing activity that it is even possible to decipher cultural patterns.