Journalist Resource June 7, 2023

Ocean Reporting Toolkit


Do you want to report on the ocean but don’t know where to start? From climate impacts, to fisheries, deep-sea mining and pollution, there are many sources of stories and data. As we launch the new Ocean Reporting Network fellowship, we have prepared an Ocean Reporting Toolkit that you may find useful to support your work. As well as the fellowship scheme, we are also supporting individual story grants for “deep dives” into the challenges facing our ocean.

The information is sorted by themes of interest.

1. Satellite Imagery

2. Vessel Ownership and Tracking

  • Equasis - A free account allows you to see which company owns a boat. 
  • FleetMon - With over half a million vessel photos provided by more than 800 active photographers around the globe, FleetMon is one of the world’s largest shipping photography communities.
  • VesselFinder - A free AIS vessel-tracking web site. Displays real-time ship positions and marine traffic detected by global AIS network.
  • ShipFinder - Using AIS watch boats, cruise ships and other vessels across the world. 
  • MarineTraffic - Receive updates on the movements of vessels and fleets in areas or ports relevant to you. 
  • MyShipTracking - A free real-time AIS vessel-finder tracking service. 
  • VesselTracker - A leading provider of global AIS vessel movements and maritime information services.
  • AISHub - Central hub for raw NMEA AIS data sharing. 

*AIS stands for Automatic Identification System. 

3. Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUU Fishing) 

  • Combined IUU Vessel list - Up-to-date information on all fishing and related vessels that appear on the illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing vessel lists. 
  • Carrier Vessel Portal - Tracks ship movement from Global Fishing Watch.
  • Fish-I Africa - Intergovernmental initiative to track fishing in East Africa.

4. Money Trails and Supply Chains

  • ResourceContracts - Repository of publicly available oil, gas, and mining contracts in machine-readable, searchable, open data format. 
  • FAOstat - Data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • OpenCorporates - Collection of company records and information from all over the world.
  • ENCORE - Select from a sector or sub-industry (based on the Global Industry Classification Standard) to explore dependencies and impacts on natural capital.

5. Deep Sea Mining

6. Legal

  • CITES Checklist of Species - Great database of all species banned in international trade.
  • EDGAR - The Security Exchanges Commission in the U.S. keeps a database of all filings about companies.
  • PACER - A database of all federal court filings in the U.S. Needs an account and pay per file.
  • Court Listener/ RECAP - If you have a PACER account, this add-on shows you which files have already been downloaded by RECAP members and are accessible for free.

7. Academic

There are both free and paid academic journals and databases available. Here, we will list the free ressources. 

There are also some research groups and think tanks such as: 

8. Reporting Guides

Further Inspiration

Some of the strongest examples of Pulitzer Center-supported ocean reporting from the past several years include:

If you have questions or would like to recommend unlisted tools that facilitate ocean reporting, please feel free to contact Fernanda at [email protected] 


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Ocean Reporting Network

Ocean Reporting Network


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