fishRman: A Shiny R Dashboard improving Global Fishing Watch data availability

Gaps & Needs

One of the burdens of fisheries scientists, researchers, and enthusiasts, is the scarcity or lack of consistent, extensive data on the subject. When such data do exist, they are often only available:

  • To universities or other research institutions;
  • Through bureaucratic ordeals;
  • For a fee.

State of the art

This issue has been tackled by Global Fishing Watch (1), an independent, international non-profit organization promoting ocean sustainability through greater transparency, visualizing, tracking and sharing data about global fishing activity for free.

While the datasets are indeed publicly available, they are also rather large (> 100 Gb) and quite difficult to manage, since they require proficiency in the programming language R (2). The first issue could be solved by subsetting and retrieving from their BigQuery public tables (years 2012 to 2020, included) only the data needed for the specific analysis, but this would require proficiency in SQL query language.

Aims & Purposes

Overcoming these two major barriers, fishRman (3) sets itself as a completely web-based, one-stop solution that provides an intuitive user interface for querying, downloading, analysing, and visualizing Global Fishing Watch data on fishing effort.


  1. Global Fishing Watch, 2021.
  2. R Core Team, 2021. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL
  3. Buonomo P, 2021.

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