DORAL, Florida (June 5, 2021) — The United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) announced today they have entered into an agreement with the international nonprofit organization, Global Fishing Watch (GFW) to help detect, deter and identify illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Under formal collaboration with SOUTHCOM, GFW will provide public vessel tracking data and open maritime domain awareness tools to support the defense agency’s efforts to counter IUU fishing in SOUTHCOM’s Area of Responsibility in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Collaboration with U.S. and GFW partner nations in the region will also include workshops and subject matter exchanges to enhance cooperation between partners and the use of GFW’s technology and open data.
“Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is among the top threats that our counterparts in coastal nations in Latin America and the Caribbean consistently raise,” said U.S. Navy Admiral Craig Faller, SOUTHCOM Commander. “It is an issue that affects their food security and their national security, and it impacts the United States. Working with Global Fishing Watch, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other U.S. government and international partners will help us to continue to counter this growing threat.”
GFW interprets data from various satellite sources to provide an unprecedented view of global fishing and human activity at sea. The nonprofit also works with countries committed to fisheries transparency and publicly sharing their vessel data—Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and Peru are using GFW’s data and analysis to strengthen fisheries monitoring and control. Through the agreement with SOUTHCOM, GFW aims to extend its partnership to other Latin American countries.
“Open data is recognized as an increasingly valuable tool to help improve governance and security of our global ocean. It improves understanding of what is happening on the water and increases the efficiency of patrols,” said Tony Long, CEO of Global Fishing Watch and Commander, Royal Navy (Retired). “Our partnerships with SOUTHCOM will further enhance our cooperation with progressive governments in Latin America—a region leading the way in fisheries transparency—to increase compliance and scrutiny on vessels operating across both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean.”
SOUTHCOM is working on improving maritime domain awareness in support of partner nation sovereignty and the rule of law. The first workshop with GFW and partner nations is scheduled for June 30.