Fully documented inshore fisheries

Transitioning towards fully documented inshore fisheries through implementing new technologies

Profitable and sustainable inshore fisheries and marine habitats can best be achieved by local, dynamic, seasonal and spatial management of fisheries and conservation areas. 

To deliver this we need systems to monitor and manage fishing activities. The data out put gained from new technologies enable the fishing industry to meet the growing need for; evidencing legitimate fishing activity; increasing our understanding of fish stocks and the marine environment and innovation in fishing practices and fisheries management to ensure the long-term sustainable management of resources.

Inshore Vessel Monitoring Systems (iVMS) are now being considered as the foundation of the system that the English fishing industry requires. This device uses mobile phone technology to transmit the GPS position of the fishing vessel to the management body and related scientists in real time. This will inform the who, what, where, when and how. 

Leading on from two successful trials I-VMS led and managed by the MMO, DSIFCA and Common Seas. This project is designing and implementing innovative pragmatic solutions to deliver fully monitored and controlled inshore fisheries in the UK.  Enabling inshore fishers to comply with future legislation restricting access to EU protected areas and providing data to innovate in the way the fishery is managed.

After a successful pilot with 30 vessels I-VMS will now be installed on all 87 vessels between 7m and below 12m, which are permitted to use mobile fishing gear in the IFCA district. 

The fleet is generally small scale and has limited resources on board, including power. Autonomous power supplies, such as solar, will be provided to support smaller vessels in the fleet to utilise the i-VMS technology. 

The adoption of the technology requires installation, training and on-going support after first being introduced. Our past projects have shown the importance of on the ground support and a continuous feedback loop. It is critical that the benefits of the technology are explained and technical difficulties are addressed in a timely manner. Whilst the hardware will be “fit and forget” the fishermen will require motivating, repeated training and demonstrations in order to get over adoption hurdle.  

Key outputs:

  • All permitted fishing vessels between 7 and 12 metres using towed gear within the district will be required to have on board a fully operational, national type approved i_VMS unit. 
  • Compliance with current legislation restricting access to EU protected areas and Marine Conservation Zones
  • Improved safety on board – understanding the location of fishing vessels in real time
  • Template to support implementation of i-VMS across all UK inshore waters
  • Monitored trawled and dredged fisheries informing management decisions
  • I-VMS to be fully compatible with the expanded monitoring requirements for the over 12m fleet.

Common Seas has been working with the DSIFCA since 2014. Together we successfully piloted this project with 30 vessels.