Irish fishing vessels REM

Irish fishing vessels cannot be forced to take REM and cameras on board

The SFPA has admitted that they failed in their attempts to get Irish fishing vessels to take remote electronic monitoring (REM) and cameras on board.

Their presentation at the NWWAC, EFCA and NWW Control Expert Group joint workshop in July which examined Measuring Compliance with the Landing Obligation noted their experience with Irish boat owners.

In 2018 the SFPA ran a project to install CCTV systems onto Pelagic fishing vessels to determine the pro’s and cons of cameras and how they can monitor/measure compliance with the landing obligation.

for fishermen who do not want REM on board The pillars of the project were:

  • The landing obligation is an “at sea” problem 
  • On land we can do something, but what happens at sea stays at sea. 
  • This technology is a solution to bring what happens at sea to land based officials.

None of the Irish fleet took up the offer of being fitted with cameras for the trials despite the SFPA’s best efforts.

So why did the SFPA have to recalibrate “successful”? 

  • They tendered out the project as a turn key solution to get a report back on CCTV usage. The successful vendor was unable to engage fishing vessels to participate 
  • To get around this issue the SFPA attempted to tender for fishing vessels, to be paid a daily rate to take CCTV equipment on-board.

“We didn’t get the answer to the question we asked, but we got answers which were….

• It was difficult to incentivise to use of cameras”.

Other challenges the SFPA believe is faced when it comes to Ireland and Remote Electronic Monitoring is that currently fishing vessels cannot be forced to install CCTV/REM equipment on board and even with an attempt to incentivise boat owners with money they refused to take part in any trial. 

On the upside for boat owners who do not want REM on their vessels the SFPA says “We cannot amend fisheries policy to make it a requirement to access a fishery.”

But the SFPA says that “Cameras are just R.E.M but R.E.M is not just cameras.”

The SFPA say that their future focus lies in other areas of REM.

  • We intend to explore sensor data but exclude CCTV data at the moment 
  • We think sensor data can provide a lot of the verification required and do not carry the same stigma as CCTV data. 
  • 2020-2021 remote logbook verification. 
  • 2021-2023 REM data integration
Remote Log Book verification 
  • Concentrating on the pelagic and demersal fleets we aim to gather data on sensors and test those which can do the following: 

– Identify catch-volume verification by weight or volume (estimation must return a kilogramme amount) We are also seeking to verify the following log book data, in the same sensor suite 

– Identify if fishing activity has occurred 

– Identify fishing area 

– Identify number of fishing operations 

– Identify fishing operation durations

Data integration

The draft EU fishery control regulation is suggesting a mandatory R.E.M requirement in fishing fleets and I think we all welcome this, but what if get what we wanted.

Our plans 

  • Over the next three years we have plans to prevent this data avalanche consuming the SFPA. 
  • We are considering the EFCA R.E.M document as the bible for R.E.M standards and will plan our integration of the data stream around the deliverables detailed in this document.
Phase One 
  • Detail current control tools used by the SFPA to comply with the fisheries control requirements. 
  • Identify usage scenarios which could be enhanced by REM data. 
  • Give an assessment of current practices used by other fisheries control authorities to implement the use of REM as a control tool. 
  • Detail how identified current practices align with the EFCA requirements. 
  • Complete an assessment of advantages and disadvantages of the identified implantation options 
  • Identify the options available to the SFPA for the implementation of REM as a control tool. 
  • Identify the data usage scenarios other control agencies have identified for REM data. 
  • Develop an EM implementation plan and gap analysis for the introduction of REM. 
  • Identify risk areas which could prevent successful REM integration into Irish fisheries.
Phase Two 
  • Look at identified gaps and assess how to bridge them 
  • Develop the administrative workstreams to be used by the organisation to manage the introduction of REM in fisheries control 
  • Provide an electronic interface, employable within SFPA IT systems to manage the administration of the introduction of all aspects of REM and vessel data management of which VMPs are considered to be a part of.
Phase 3

• Pilot a user interface to manage all aspects of REM data.

• Roll out the user interface to allow the full integration of REM data into Irish Fisheries control.

To conclude the SFPA say:

“Thanks to the entire process over the past three years, at this moment in time, the SFPA probably has the fullest understanding of what we think a good REM solution will be and we hope to manage how to use this data in order to add value to the work we do.”

Brian J McMullin Solicitors
MMG Welding Killybegs