Country Fishing Activity

Fishing effort and vessel presence by country

  • Source: Global Fishing Watch

The AIS Annual Fishing Activity data set, produced by Global Fishing Watch, shows the distribution of time spent fishing in different locations throughout the ocean at a 0.01 degree resolution between 2012 and 2016. The time spent fishing in each pixel is tracked using a maritime Automatic Identification System (AIS), which is a radio communications system through which vessels continuously broadcast their identity and position using radio signals. Around 300,000 fishing vessels are tracked using this AIS system.

From the AIS data, machine-learning classifiers are used to determine the type of ship, its size, what kind of fishing gear it uses, and where and when it is fishing based on its movement patterns.

Fishing vessel gear types include six categories:

1) drifting longlines;

2) purse seines (pelagic and demersal);

3) trawlers (all types);

4) fixed_gear (set longlines, set gillnets, and pots and traps);

5) squid jiggers (mostly large industrial pelagic operating vessels);

6) other fishing (a combination of vessels of unknown fishing gear and other, less common gears such as trollers or pole and line).

This data set shows the sum of hours spent fishing of each rig type to give the total fishing hours of all rig types. Resource Watch shows only a subset of the data set. For access to the full data set and additional information, see the Learn More link.

Customize Visualization

Formal name

AIS Country Fishing Activity


Location events are not exact. If place names were not locatable within Google Maps then the centroid of the region or in some cases, the whole country was used instead.

Suggested citation

Kroodsma, DA, J Mayorga, T Hochberg, NA Miller, K Boerder, F Ferretti, A Wilson, B Bergman,TD White, BA Block, P Woods, B Sullivan, C Costello, B Worm. Tracking the Global Footprint of Fisheries. 2018. Science. February 22, 2018. Accessed through Resource Watch, (date).


Global Fishing Watch

Geographic coverage


Spatial resolution


Date of content


Frequency of updates



Similar datasets