NWFSC Monster Seminar Jam: Heather Welch
This seminar is part of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center's Monster Seminar Jam series.
Heather Welch, research scientist University of California Santa Cruz and NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Center, is presenting her talk, "Intentional AIS disabling by high seas fisheries." The talk will be moderated by Eli Ward (Northwest Fisheries Science Center).
Recent advances allow most of the world’s high seas fishing fleets to be tracked publicly through the Automatic Identification System (AIS), improving transparency in an industry with a high level of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. However, vessels can intentionally disable their AIS devices, impeding the utility of AIS as a monitoring tool. Here, we present the first global dataset of suspected disabling in the high seas, which we estimate obscures 5-10 percent of high seas fishing effort by vessels with AIS. Disabling events were concentrated adjacent to Argentinean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and in the Northwest Pacific—two regions of IUU concern. Using machine learning, we found that AIS disabling was primarily driven by human behavior as opposed to the environment, with disabling most common adjacent to foreign EEZs and in areas with high transshipment activity. These findings suggest that AIS devices are often disabled to avoid management oversight rather than to hide profitable fishing locations.
Heather Welch is a research associate at UCSC/ERD SWFSC located in Monterey, California. Her research focuses on the intersection of big data, statistical modelling, remote sensing, and decision-support science to predict and manage species, oceanographic features, and human activities that are dynamic and space and time. Foremost in her work, she aims to produce practical methodologies and tools that can be widely applied, facilitating the applied management of our fundamentally dynamic world.
Join WebEx meeting
Meeting number (access code): 903 183 732
Meeting password: JhWEAzQs628
Join by phone
For more information on the current schedule and how subscribe to our weekly announcements, see the Monster Seminar Jam page.