Data, Intelligence and Tools to Combat Illegal Fishing
The Joint Analytical Cell, or JAC, provides authorities with fisheries intelligence, data analysis and capacity building to help combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Founded by the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network, Global Fishing Watch and TMT, the initiative’s members also include C4ADS and Skylight.
By harnessing innovative technology and the complementary expertise of its collaborating organizations, the JAC fosters cooperation among State and non-State actors to build insights and capacity to help enhance fisheries management.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global threat whose solutions begin with collaboration across the international community. Costing States billions of dollars in lost revenue each year, IUU fishing pushes overexploited fish stocks toward collapse, causing untold damage to marine ecosystems, and perpetuates associated crimes, including human rights abuses.
New tools and technologies, fueled by satellite tracking and machine learning, are enabling us to monitor fishing activities in ways that would have been impossible just a few years ago. This presents new opportunities to transform the way we govern our ocean and unlock ways to close the net on illegal fishing. But the international cooperation required to achieve such results is lacking, and too many countries do not yet have the information they need or the capacity to act upon it.
The Joint Analytical Cell, or JAC, aims to change that. By opening up access to data, intelligence and tools at scale, this unique collaboration seeks to strengthen fisheries management worldwide and support effective action to end the scourge of IUU fishing.
With fish stocks and marine ecosystems under everincreasing pressure from human activity, clamping down on IUU fishing has never been more important. And with the emergence of new technology offerings—many of which are inexpensive or free of cost and based on
open, publicly available data—the effective monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of fisheries is becoming more possible and more affordable.
Satellites and other remote surveillance techniques allow vessels and their activities to be monitored in near realtime, even far from shore.
Databases contain a wealth of information about the global fishing fleet and the companies behind it. Machine learning and data analytics provide insights and intelligence that support investigations and targeted enforcement against those acting illicitly.
But information is only good when it is put to use and, right now, the knowledge created by various tools and technology is not being used to its utmost potential, creating lost opportunities for those in charge of managing our ocean.
Most authorities rely on expensive proprietary systems for monitoring fishing vessels and managing data. This limits possibilities for sharing information and intelligence internationally, which is crucial for combating IUU fishing.
In developing regions, which often face the greatest challenges from IUU fishing, few States have access to the latest data and technology and often lack the capacity to analyze and act upon the information they do have.
The JAC aims to transform ocean governance by facilitating collaboration, information sharing, intelligence-led MCS, and capacity building. We seek to enable access to data, technology and analytics at scale, with a particular focus on supporting developing coastal States that are responsible for overseeing vast areas of the ocean but may not have the capabilities to do so.
The JAC harnesses innovative technology and the complementary expertise and resources of its members and wider collaborating organizations, including State actors, nongovernmental organizations and technology providers. It serves as a hub for sharing intelligence, making sense of the multiple technology and data offerings, and providing operational support and training to enable
collaborative action to combat IUU fishing worldwide.
TMT's Role in the JAC
TMT brings our extensive experience of ‘pointy-end’ fisheries intelligence analysis, capacity building, and operational cooperation with State partners to the Joint Analytical Cell. Our collaborative approach, tools and data, and hands on training methods will both form the basis of, and be augmented by, JAC operations and assistance. As such, TMT leads the coordination of the analytical activities, output, and operational support to the countries and other partners that the JAC works with.
"The IUU fishing challenge continues to evolve, and so must the responses,” said Duncan Copeland, Executive Director at TMT. “The opportunities that the appropriate data, the right tools and technologies, and targeted personnel training present to bolstering fisheries enforcement capacities are enormous, but only if they are accessible and adapted to a national or regional context. State and non-State actor cooperation and collaboration are essential, and the Joint Analytical Cell has been formed to enable this objective.”