Seafish seeking volunteers for VMS trials

Industry Database

The UKs Seafish is seeking 30 volunteer vessels in the south west to participate in a 12-month low cost Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) pilot study to monitor inshore fishing activity.

This work will support a range of fishing initiatives, including mapping fishing effort, supporting environmental accreditation and the design and management of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s). The trial is due to take place between May 2010 and May 2011. 

Seafish is looking for 30 vessels based round the south west coast to take part in the trial. The vessels chosen will be representative of the makeup of the inshore fleet. Seafish will be looking for vessels that use different fishing techniques and in a range of sizes and deck arrangements. There will be no vessel size limit placed on participants, but they must all have a suitable onboard power supply and a secure location for fitting the small VMS unit.

Preference will be given to vessels that operate in the South Devon coastal area as this project will seek to work with a Natural England project piloting the development of a management plan for a local Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Priority will also be given to vessels engaged by ‘full time’ fishermen and to vessels in the Responsible Fishing Scheme. Five of the selected 30 vessels will ultimately be recruited to work with the project team to develop additional functionality. In the interests of transparency and fairness, a selection protocol will be applied to the first round of respondents.

Each of the 30 vessels will be fitted with a small VMS system, utilising General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) mobile phone communication technology, which will record and send position and course details to a central database. There will be no cost to the vessels involved during the course of the pilot project. As a further incentive, the participating vessels will take ownership of the equipment once the project finishes and a further 12 months transmission costs will be covered. 

If you would like to volunteer to take part in the trial please contact Seafish on +44 (0)1472 252329. The closing date for applications is 20 April 2010. Full details are available on the Seafish website at: http://www.seafish.org/b2b/area.asp?p=83 or from Tom Rossiter at t_rossiter@seafish.co.uk or Gus Caslake at r_caslake@seafish.co.uk

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