Consultation by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs is now underway to introduce Inshore Vessel Monitoring Systems (IVMS) to all licensed fishing vessels in British waters under 12m in length, with the first installations expected to begin by spring 2019.

With every registered fishing vessel expected to have an IVMS fitted by June 2021, there are understandably many questions about how this new technology will help or hinder fishing efforts by the hundreds of fishermen affected by the plans.

Succorfish has been working with the fishing industry for several years to develop technology with fishermen in mind. Our number one priority is to develop technology that puts fishing first and our IVMS SC2 device was recently chosen by over 95% of fishermen in an IFCA pilot project to install monitoring systems on all Devon and Severn fishing boats.

We are always assessing how to enhance the user experience and constantly engage with fishermen using our technology to look at the ways we can make it better.  Furthermore, we’re keen to confront what issues have been identified with this type of technology when in use out at sea.

Succorfish Fishermen App 

There was one key point raised during initial feedback from the DSIFCA project that has been of particular interest to our development team.  A condition of the fishing license for all DSIFCA fishing vessels is that they can only fish if their IVMS system is switched on and reporting.  We expect that this will be a condition of all licences in England once the installation process gets underway in 2019.

A number of fishermen voiced concerns over what would happen if they were out at sea and their IVMS system stopped reporting.  How would they know if their device was working and more importantly, would they have to return to land straightaway and lose fishing time?

Why Would IVMS Stop Working?

Based on the feedback we received, the most common reason an IVMS device has stopped reporting is disruption to the power source.  The device must be connected to a power source at all times to report data and successful connection is indicated by a red power light on the top of the device.

We know only too well that constant checking of the device is not an option on a busy fishing boat and instead, understanding that a check to see if the device is working needs to be done in an automated fashion to ensure a timely warning if the I-VMS goes offline.

We are one of the only IVMS suppliers to have developed a specialist app that offers a regular reporting service identifying the device as functional.  Notifications will indicate to a skipper when the device is reporting and no lost fishing time will occur.  Once set-up, the Succorfish GUI platform and app will do all the checking on your behalf, letting you know if the device is not functioning and allowing you time to call in a dedicated local technician to get your vessel out and fishing as soon as possible.  You can download the app here

We have worked hand in hand with fishermen to find a way that reduces the risk of lost fishing time but maximises the ease and confidence enjoyed by fishermen when using IVMS technology.

To find out more about the consultation process please see our introduction here or alternatively visit the DEFRA website to access the consultation documents in full.

If you have any questions on the Succorfish I-VMS device you can contact Tom Rossiter, fisheries manager at Succorfish on 0191 447 6883 or