MMO issues Questions & Answers in relation to the I-VMS rollout programme

MMO issues Questions & Answers in relation to the I-VMS rollout programme

The Marine Management Organisation has issued a Frequently Asked Questions and Answers article in relation to the I-VMS rollout programme.

The article answers questions regarding why I-VMS is being introduced, which the MMO says is to enable a better understanding of scale, location, and seasonality of fishing activity.

It lays out who the regulations apply to, in this case all commercial fishing vessels under-12 metres in length transiting of fishing in England’s Exclusive Economic Zone regardless of where they are registered.

There are questions and answers in relation to why fishermen must pay for the installation of the device, and why an app on a mobile phone could not be used.

The MMO also answers the question regarding the storage of vessel monitoring information and fishermen’s right to access the information.

The MMO say, “Currently fishers who have vessel monitoring devices can request their own Vessel Monitoring System data using a Subject Access Request. MMO is examining ways to make it simpler for fishers to get the tracking information for their own vessels.”

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The question of how I-VMS data reaches the MMO is also answered. They say, “First the data is captured by satellites populating the positional information and then the device sends the data across through GPRS at the set frequency to the device supplier’s server. This is then pushed across to the MMO into the UK VMS Hub where it will be monitor and stored.

Suppliers have a duty of care with your data and must follow data protection rules. They cannot share your data without your permission; however, fishers need the data to reach the MMO as part the legal requirements once laid. For further information on data protection please see

Fishers can find out and seek reassurances from their preferred supplier and find out more in regard to how they will handle your data. They too have data protection laws to follow.”

On the question of why the I-VMS data is not directly sent to the MMO, they say, “There are several reasons why it is better for the delivery of data to follow this process.

Connecting to the UK VMS Hub is handled at one central point for each supplier, rather than having each device requiring to be reprogrammed and repointed to the UK VMS Hub.

If updates are made from the UK VMS Hub which alters the integration path for the data, we can work with the suppliers in ensuring their server can handle the adjustments smoothly, as opposed to having to make programming adjustments to every device at an individual level.

If data only comes from the device to UK VMS Hub then fishers won’t be able to readily access their own I-VMS data.

Suppliers won’t be able provide a strong support service. If you have a device issue, they cannot run any diagnostics because they cannot see the data.

In the unlikely event that the frequency of the I-VMS data has to change when a device is in a particular location, geofences would have to be remotely downloaded into the device’s memory at a cost, if the data does not go through a supplier’s server. If the data does go through a supplier server, then the suppliers can place a geofence just on the server and devices will be able to interact and adjust as it transmits back and forth to the server.

Another question that fishermen have been asking, “What happens if my I-VMS device has a fault, can I go to sea?”

Yes,” answers the MMO, “prior to the legal requirement there is nothing preventing a fisher from being able to go to sea.

Once the legal requirement comes into force then there is the requirement to operate and transmit with I-VMS when operating at sea.

However, fishers have a duty to check their I-VMS device prior to leaving their mooring and check whether the device is transmitting I-VMS data correctly.

Suppliers will offer mechanisms for fishers to see their own data.

If their device is not operating correctly, then the fisher must contact their device supplier and report the fault for resolution as soon as possible. They are then to inform the MMO at [email protected] of the fault and the vessel it relates to. In performing this the MMO may consider the offer of a grace period which will enable the vessel to continue to fish during the resolution period. This is a new policy and is being worked through. Further information will be provided in due course.

If you operate outside of English waters, then you will need to understand if there are differing rules that apply.

One of the questions The Fishing Daily asked the MMO was on regards to what happens if the supplier of I-VMS device steps away providing this service?

The MMO answers here, “All suppliers understand the delivery and approach of this project. All suppliers understand that it is the fishers that ultimately decide what device, service and support they want to sign up to.

If a supplier does find themselves in a position in which they cannot continue to provide their service to their I-VMS customers, then we will work with all parties affected and communicate next steps. The MMO will be holding regular meetings with each of the suppliers to ensure that if these concerns are likely to occur, we are in a good position to consider any mitigation measures and/or course of action early.

All the answers to the posed questions can be found by clicking here.

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