Monitoring, Control & Surveillance Workshop

4 27, 2016

Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance in the fishing industry is seen as essential for ensuring the sustainability of a given fishery and there are an increasing number of tools that can be used in the ongoing fight against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

On the 4th and 5th of March, we attended a workshop hosted by WWF in Auckland, New Zealand, on emerging technologies for Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) in the fishing industry.

The goal of this workshop was to bring together MCS Professionals and Technology Providers to better understand the existing MCS environment and objectively review and assess the available emerging technologies that might help contribute to less expensive, more effective MCS at a national, regional and global level.

As specialist technology providers for fisheries management, we were keen to meet with other providers whose technology could complement our own and provide an information framework that could benefit Fishing Regulators and Operators across the whole fishing value chain.

Particular technologies that were highlighted at the workshop were; Integrated Satellite Imaging, Tracking Technology and Electronic Monitoring/Fish ID software. We also had a more in depth look at other emerging technologies such as Integrated Electronic Reporting, Laser Imaging and Scanning, Catch Documentation and Traceability Technologies, Integrated Ocean Sensor Technology, Rapid Assessment Genetics and the State of Unmanned Surveillance Technologies.

Both days finished with a panel discussion where participants reviewed the key themes of the day with robust conversations to identify, summarise and record key points. This proved a great forum for thought provoking discussions which highlighted several crucial areas that need attention if we want to achieve positive change in the sustainable management of our fisheries.

Some of the specific challenges that were identified and discussed were:

  • "The paper chase” – Paper is still being used for reporting and licencing purposes making it difficult to readily access this data. Sometimes this data takes years to access.
  • Cost of surveillance – The costs associated with surveillance are quite high. Costs for developing nations need to compete with the costs of other development needs.
  • Under-resourced – The fishing industry is under resourced. There is always work to do but often limited time and people. One of the areas that lack resources is Human Observers, which is not a popular or attractive role to a lot of people. There is a high turnover in this area. Patrol surveillance is also a problem area where large ocean spaces have few patrol boats and very few compliance officers.
  • Data management gap – There is a lack of understanding of who owns the data.
  • Legislation has not kept up with technology – There is a lack of adequate legislative provisions to use technology.

The MCS workshop proved very worthwhile and we were excited to be part of it and share our thoughts and insights. Two of our main takeaways from the event were:

  • No silver bullet - There is no one single answer to solve the challenges faced by the fishing industry. Technology can potentially solve some of these challenges faced but using technology for the sake of technology is not the solution either which leads to the next key takeaway
  • Need more transparency - There needs to be more transparency to improve and increase collaboration between the fishing industry and various authorities including NGO’s. All key stakeholders need to understand why the data is collected and have comfort with what the data is being used for.

This blog piece was written by Sam Shukla, Business Analyst at FINNZ, who attended the WWF - Monitoring, Control & Surveillance Workshop. Sam is currently working on the new Fisheries Management System for the NZ Fishing industry, and is also involved in other software solutions for FINNZ customers. Click here to connect with him on LinkedIn.

If you are interested to find out more about our work, see our latest case study here.

Posted on March 22, 2016

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