WWF calls for satellite technology on all commercial vessels to increase transparency of fishing activities

November 22, 2013
Deep sea fishing: Landing the catch on a deep sea trawler. Credit: Mike R. Jackson / WWF-Canon

A new pilot project initiated by WWF proves that the use of satellite technology in the surveillance of fishing activities can be an efficient and simple method to increase safety on fishing vessels and promote legal and transparent fishing operations. WWF cooperates with Sea Quest, a fishing company in Fiji in the South Pacific that agreed to install Automatic Identification System (AIS) transmitters on its tuna fishing vessels to demonstrate full transparency of the company´s fishing operations.

Since June 2013, six AIS transmitters have been activated round-the-clock on the long-line albacore tuna fishing vessels of Sea Quest. The AIS is a reliable supplier of data constantly sending signals from the vessels where it has been installed to the WWF database to monitor and evaluate fishing and vessel operations on the water. WWF can retrace the routes and activities of Sea Quest's fishing vessels and ensure that boundaries of sensitive areas and no take zones are respected.

"Our cooperation shows that this MSC-certified tuna fishery is willing to make their fishing operations fully transparent," said Alfred Schumm, WWF's Smart Fishing Initiative Leader. "I hope that the Sea Quest project will become a global example of how to make fishing transparent, and that it will trigger other companies to join us aboard."

Sea Quest is a tuna fishing and processing company of substantial size based in Fiji which employs more than 200 people. The fishing vessels haul in their catch using a selective, sustainable long line fishing method and all fisheries in the Economic Exclusive fishing Zones (EEZ) of the waters of Fiji in the South Pacific are certified against Marine Stewardship (MSC) standards, a certification program that promotes sustainable fishing. The company exports tuna mainly to the U.S. and Japan and newly upcoming markets such as the EU, New Zealand and Australia.

"With the AIS installation, safety and transparency of compliance with fishing areas are being addressed. Other issues like illegal fishing, barcoding of , electronic monitoring of fisheries as well as satellite monitoring need to be part of a larger framework to be addressed through regulatory measures. I believe that the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji could look at implementing mandatory use of AIS units on all Fiji flagged vessels as a means of increasing vessel safety at sea. This could also be a back up surveillance for fisheries." said Brett Haywood, owner of Sea Quest.

"We want to create transparency and understanding and show that the fisheries management, monitoring and control measures are essential to make fishing sustainable. Governments over the world should make AIS installation mandatory for every commercial fishing vessel to increase safety and transparency," said Schumm.

Explore further: Pacific's Palau looks at commercial fishing ban

Related Stories

Pacific's Palau looks at commercial fishing ban

March 15, 2013

Palau's president has proposed banning all commercial fishing in the Pacific nation's waters to create one of the world's largest marine reserves, covering an area roughly the size of France.

Time 'running out' to save tuna stocks

August 26, 2013

Time is running out to save some species of tuna from overfishing, environmental groups warned Monday, calling for Japan to take the lead in reducing the global catch.

Pacific nations agree to cut bluefin tuna catches

September 5, 2013

Asia-Pacific fishing nations and territories agreed on Thursday to cut catches of young bluefin tuna by 15 percent, with an agreement environmentalists said would not stop overfishing.

Automatic location of fishing gear

November 1, 2013

In the grey light of morning and squally weather a fishing boat stops its engine. The fisherman knows he is outside the baseline and has to notify the Coastguard before setting his nets. He phones the office in Sortland and ...

Call for Atlantic tuna quotas to be retained

November 11, 2013

A leading environmental group on Monday called on authorities to keep tough fishing quotas on Atlantic tuna when governments meet next week to set industry rules.

Recommended for you

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...

How cells in the developing ear 'practice' hearing

November 25, 2015

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.