Sharks around the world are being killed at a rate as never seen before and new technology is allowing us to see why. Using satellite data and machine learning, the nonprofit Global Fishing Watch is mapping fishing boats around the world to help cut down on illegal fishing.
What the data has revealed other than how much illegal fishing is going on is that these fishing boats are crossing the path of 45 major routes taken by sharks on the Atlantic Ocean.
The data unsurprisingly show that ship paths and shark paths are constantly intersecting and the sharks are being put at high risk of being caught either purposely or as a product of bycatch. Current estimates are that 100 million sharks, and perhaps as many as 273 million, are killed each year from fishing activities.
The data provided on the site is past data but due to increased shark awareness, it has led to an investment in shark research including taking and receiving real time shark movements and data which will help lead to a better understanding shark migrations and where they bread. Once that data has been collected, we can focus on ensuring those parts of the world receive protection from fishing to allow shark species to thrive.