Follow the Data Podcast

Reporting on The Outlaw Ocean

Episode Summary

Imagine a lawless frontier. It probably wouldn't be so different from the ocean, where abuses like slavery and human trafficking or crimes like rape or murder are hidden from sight. Ian Urbina is a journalist focusing on lawlessness at sea. He has investigated how Chinese fishing vessels are illegally operating in the waters between Korea, Japan and Russia, violating UN sanctions, and recently, how the food security of coastal populations in West Africa is are at risk due to overfishing. After reporting on staff at The New York Times for about 20 years, he's started The Outlaw Ocean Project, a non-profit journalism organization which focuses on telling stories about the environmental, human rights, and labor abuses occurring offshore around the world. In order to reach a broader audience, Ian has also launched The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, which allows artists to create music inspired from journalism on ocean issues. As a result, hundreds of musicians from more than 80 countries have been telling new audiences about issues at sea. On this episode, Ian joins Melissa Wright - who oversees the Vibrant Oceans Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies' program that works to protect the ocean and those who depend on it -- from climate change, pollution, and overfishing. Melissa and Ian will tell us more about how reporting at sea has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, how his team uses data from Global Fishing Watch to corroborate his work, and how you can take action to protect our ocean at home.