A Spanish ship is the first tropical tuna vessel to test the latest in electronic monitoring technology, designed for when an onboard human observer is not a practical option. The observation of fishing activities provides validation of critical catch and operational data, integral to scientific analyses and market transparency.

Experts from Archipelago Marine Research Ltd, working on behalf of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, outfitted the vessel with a video-based electronic monitoring system. The system uses an array of sensors to monitor key fishing gear, and trigger the video cameras when it detects fishing activity. An onboard control centre manages the system and logs the data, along with boat location, speed and heading information provided by the system’s GPS receiver. Throughout the trip, the system also delivers hourly updates via satellite, reporting vessel position, fishing activity, and other relevant information. Once the vessel returns to port, any portion of the logged data can be reviewed to help evaluate fishing activity.

Borja Soroa, Managing Director of fishing fleet involved said, “The success of this monitoring technology means that even in regions where safety is a chief concern, like it is in the Indian Ocean, observer coverage is not optional. This will become a standard for doing business and we’re committed to doing our part to help make it work.”

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is a global coalition of scientists, the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health.

Further Reading: International Seafood Sustainability Foundation