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Monitoring global fishing activity is a monumental task. I’d like to introduce you to a groundbreaking new tool, created by Google, SkyTruth, and Oceana, called Global Fishing Watch. Using satellite data emitted by fishing vessels, the program gives people around the world a simple online platform to visualize, track, and share information about ocean fishing activity.

Illegal and unsustainable fishing activity is taking a tremendous toll on the world’s oceans, stripping them of healthy fish populations and damaging precious ecosystems. Not only does the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimate that nearly one-third of assessed marine fish stocks have been overfished, but they also estimate that 90 percent were either fully fished or overfished in 2011.

Did you know that shark finning is still allowed in the U.S.?  Despite the finning prohibition ushered in by the 2010 Shark Conservation Act, some east coast states were still allowing fishermen to fin spiny dogfish sharks at sea as long as the removed fins did not weigh more than five percent of the bodies onboard the vessel.

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