Vesselfinder Site helps identify illegal fishing boats

Vesselfinder Site helps identify illegal fishing boats

The featured Vesselfinder website helps identify illegal fishing boats. And there is a mobile app you can download for free too. For Android and Mac. There is a paid-for version, but the website and free app give you enough information and even some vessels have their pictures featured so you can really see who it is out there.

Just drag the map around, zoom in and out, and start your own ship spotting habit.

Unfortunately, there is no-one to report the potential transgressors to in South Africa. The post is vacant according to the official website. And in Mozambique, you may as well whistle from a street corner.

Vesselfinder screen shot of fishing vessels fishing close together off Xai Xai in Mozambique.
Vesselfinder screenshot of fishing vessels (blue) fishing close together off Xai Xai in Mozambique

This is an example of suspicious activity today, off Maxixe, in Mozambique. Although they all have their AIS transmitters on and transmitting, their sailing configuration is suspicious…

Pair trolling

There is a kind of commercial fishing practice, that uses a huge net, dragged between two ships. Called pair trawling, that some unscrupulous ships resort to, that is completely illegal because it is so effective. And it is mainly deployed in areas where there NO fish left to catch. Just like here in Mozambique, where no matter how many long lines you put out here, there just aren’t enough fish left anymore. It feels like we are down to 1%, never mind the claimed 4%. That we even still catch any fish anymore is a miracle.

Not even small commercial ski-boats can survive a commercial fishing operation out here, let alone the huge ships and trawlers and the like, that we are seeing at the moment.

And so this day (see screencap above), we have FIVE fishing vessels all smashing about the gamefish waters of Maxixe. Huddling close together, they could be pair netting in tandem, and absolutely destroying all that is left, with this cunning and evil fishing method.

So if you ever see two of these boats sailing together, with only one AIS transmitter transmitting, report and hopefully photograph that, please.


All the foreign loans and corrupt deals in the world won’t get any form of policing by the government, out there. I have, in all my many years in this place, seen but a handful of working government ocean-going vessel. I have seen literally hundreds of trashed ones lying about, up and down the Mozambican coastline. Fishing vessels too. Government-owned. Government-destroyed as they lie rotting away. Maputo. Angoche. Beira. All over the place.

In South Africa, the person you could call doesn’t even exist. The post is vacant?!

And so, all we can do is be knowledgeable as we can about these possibly trespassing trawlers, and report the suspicious sightings on Facebook, at our Trawler Watch page. At least this creates some sort of log that might be used as evidence in the future.

Visit via the link below…

Suspected illegal fishing activity can be monitored on any AIS software. App or website, there are many to choose from.

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