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New collaboration establishes Joint Analytical Cell in major step forward for fisheries monitoring and enforcement

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International organizations aim to transform global ocean governance by enabling access to data, technology and analytics at scale

Washington, D.C., May 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new collaboration aims to boost equitable access to vital fisheries intelligence, data analysis and capacity building assistance to help developing maritime States combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Founded by the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network, Global Fishing Watch and TMT, the Joint Analytical Cell, or JAC, will harness innovative technology and fisheries expertise to facilitate collaboration among State and non-State actors and transform ocean governance.

The announcement comes in advance of the International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing on June 5 and the second United Nations Ocean Conference taking place in Lisbon, Portugal June 27-July 1at which the Joint Analytical Cell will be showcased by States that recognize the importance of novel collaboration and new technology to help sustainably manage the ocean.

“The establishment of the Joint Analytical Cell marks a sea change in fisheries intelligence and analysis. It will set a precedent for a global shift toward greater use of open data, data analytics, and integrated technology to provide greater transparency of activities occurring in the maritime domain and strengthen fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance efforts,” said Mark Young, Executive Director of the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network. “Collaboration between States, nonprofits and technology providers can help tackle IUU fishing by providing actionable data, credible intelligence and capacity building to those that need it most, ultimately improving global fisheries management.” 

IUU fishing causes significant harm to the health and resilience of the ocean, which is crucial in assuring global livelihoods and food security. Costing States millions of dollars in lost revenue and causing untold damage to marine ecosystems, it is also linked to increases in associated crimes, including labor and human rights abuses, as well as broader maritime security challenges.

Technology and transparency of information can drive change at scale in the fight against illegal fishing. But the global community lacks equitable access to the necessary data and tools, and the resources and training required to use them. Management authorities have traditionally relied on proprietary monitoring systems that have limited information sharing and are not available to all States.

In an effort to streamline the various technology and data offerings in the sphere of fisheries intelligence, the JAC seeks to facilitate a more open, collaborative model that will catalyze pooled data and technology, and conduct capacity-building efforts to improve upon current operating procedures. These insights can be shared across partners and deployed to support maritime enforcement authorities, enabling them to carry out targeted, risk-based and intelligence-led fisheries monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement operations. These actions are also designed to act as a deterrent, since illicit activities will be harder to hide. The JAC will particularly focus on the strengthening of port controls, transshipment activity, and air and sea patrols. Insights from JAC analyses will also be made available to evidence-base international policy and legal processes that target the closure of loopholes that are exploited by illegal fishing operators. 

"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.”

“What we have established with the Joint Analytical Cell is a partnership mechanism that is designed to grow and bring in more complementary platforms and technology providers,” said Tony Long, Chief Executive Officer at Global Fishing Watch. “This initiative, when taken to scale, will mobilize the combined expertise of its partners and allow for more targeted analyses and actionable intelligence offerings.”

The Joint Analytical Cell will focus on four key areas: fisheries intelligence; monitoring, control and surveillance capacity building; access to data and technology, and partnership development. It will build on existing tools created by the founding members such as Global Fishing Watch’s vessel tracking map and related tools like its carrier vessel portal, as well as TMT’s Fisheries Analytical Capacity Tool, a fisheries intelligence management system built to capture and support analysis of identities and characteristics of the global fishing fleet and the companies that comprise it. 

“Fish are a livelihood and source of nutrition for billions of people globally and it’s critical to prevent actions like illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing that threaten this vital resource,” said Melissa Wright from Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The new Joint Analytical Cell is an unprecedented step to enhance global collaboration to end fishing piracy, and Bloomberg Philanthropies is excited to support this major effort to expand fishing data. We know that you can’t manage what you can’t measure and the data from this new fisheries intelligence force will ensure governments, civil society partners, and communities can hold bad actors accountable and fish continue to be an available resource for billions around the world.”

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