Vessels in the Devon and Severn fishing district will be celebrating World Oceans Days with a difference this year as they take part in a ground breaking new programme activating technology to provide greater transparency and traceability across the inshore fishing sector.

On the 8th June, the first of the district’s 85 mobile fishing vessels, including trawlers and dredgers, will be receiving an Inshore-Vessel Monitoring System unit as part of a landmark Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (DSIFCA) initiative to fit all mobile fishing vessels with the monitoring system.

The programme, financed by the European Fisheries Fund and Marine Management Organisation, is now underway and has been spearheaded by the social business Common Seas to support fully-documented fisheries to safeguard the future of the inshore fishing industry and marine habitats. Common Seas, Succorfish, the DSIFCA and fishers began working together in 2013 to develop and demonstrate the systems and technologies being implemented today.

Jo Royle, Common Seas comments: “We are delighted to be celebrating World Ocean Day with practical action that supports coastal economies and marine habitats to flourish together. Installation of I-VMS ‘black boxes’ on fishing vessels enables fisheries management to know who is fishing, where and when. Greater transparency and traceability across the fishing industry is critical to productivity of our seas, and fishers in the Devon and Severn district are the pioneers. Common Seas urges the UK Government to accelerate the implementation of a National roll out to enable local dynamic, seasonal and spatial management of our inshore waters.’

It’s expected the programme will be closely monitored in light of recent proposals by both the UK government and European Union to support the use of I-VMS systems across all fishing vessels – proposals welcomed by both Common Seas and marine monitoring and data collection specialists, Succorfish.

95% of vessels in the Devon and Severn programme chose Succorfish as their supplier of choice given the firm’s long-standing history and strong reputation in the local fishing community.

Jo Royle, continues: “Common Seas considers Succorfish to be the market leader due to their commitment to provide the inshore fishing sector with effective technology and dedicated customer service. The company’s investment and appetite to innovate and support the transition towards a fully documented fishery, provides the UK with the opportunity to become a global leader.”

The installation will be carried out on all vessels between 6.99m and 11.99mm permitted to use mobile fishing gear in the Devon and Severn District.

The I-VMS systems will be fitted by specialists Tecmarine who have been integral in the projects development and are tasked with completing the installation of Succorfish systems in Devon and Severn.

All fishing vessels were given a choice of two I-VMS suppliers and Succorfish also created a dedicated installer app to enable a smooth and efficient roll out of its units amongst vessels.

Tom Rossiter, Head of Fisheries at Succorfish who has supported DSIFCA and Common Seas in the roll out of the project commented: “Together with Common Seas, we have worked hard to ensure that the DSIFCA Pathfinder Project hits the ground running. We see this pilot as a real opportunity to show how I-VMS systems can contribute to the sustainability of the fishing industry by collecting accurate, real-time data that can put the sector ten steps ahead when it comes to fully documented fisheries.

“Our ultimate aim is to ensure that the Pathfinder Project is successful and the fishing community in Devon and Severn feels supported and satisfied with how their I-VMS system is working. Part of that is a smooth installation process supported by our app to create a clear roadmap to other management authorities considering rolling out a similar programme in the UK or indeed around Europe.

“I-VMS offers a real prospect to UK fisheries to get ahead of the curve when it comes to regulators and suppliers working together to make fully documented fisheries work and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Common Seas for their tireless work in contributing to a stronger future for a more sustainable fishing industry.”


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Kate Tulip

Vibrant PR