One Cool Thing: Panama’s Transparent Vessels

Last week, Panama became the latest country to formally agree to make its national vessel tracking data publicly available through the Global Fishing Watch (GFW) map platform, joining Chile, Peru (whose vessel data is seen above), and Indonesia, which have already agreed to do this.  Panama thereby commits to greater transparency in fishing activities and to promote sustainability.  Panama’s fleet is made up of 275 fishing and carrier vessels. This is significant because Panama, thanks to its location and its canal, is a major “flag” state for carrier vessels, which are used to receive catch at sea and transport to port. Publishing vessel tracking data to the GFW platform will aid Panama’s monitoring and control efforts, including combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.  Panama has a history of fisheries conservation — it was the first country in central America to ban commercial long-lining, a particularly destructive type of fishing, in its waters in 2011.  To this, we say, Olé!  More countries, like the U.S., should do the same.

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