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Fisheries

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Control technologies

The EU system for fisheries controls

The EU system for fisheries controls makes extensive use of modern technologies to ensure that fishing fleets are monitored and controlled in an effective way. They improve the access to good quality fisheries data and make it possible to cross-check information from different sources.

Electronic recording and reporting system (ERS)

The electronic reporting system (ERS) is used to record fishing activities data (e.g. catches, landings, sales) and to report them to fisheries authorities in the Member States. The system is compulsory for vessels above 15 m (as from 1 January 2012 – vessels above 12 m). It replaces paper logbooks and is therefore often referred to as an electronic logbook or “e-logbook”. It also replaces sales notes.

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Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)

The vessel monitoring system (VMS) is a satellite-based fishing vessel monitoring system providing data to the fisheries authorities at regular intervals on the location, course and speed of vessels. The system is compulsory for EU vessels above 15 m (as from 1 January 2012 – vessels above 12 m). Non-EU vessels of the same size are obliged to have an operational satellite tracking device installed on board whenever they are in Community waters.

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New control technologies become crucial nowadays to ensure effective monitoring and control of fishing fleets and streamlined management of qualitative and reliable fisheries data.

Vessel Detection System (VDS)

The EU is also encouraging a wider use of Vessel Detection Systems (VDS), a satellite-based technology (satellite imaging of sea areas) which may help to locate and identify fishing vessels at sea. According to EU legislation (Regulation 1224/2009), fisheries control authorities shall have a technical capacity to use VDS.

The basic function of VDS is to allow the identification of vessels and the detection of their positions at sea.

Automatic Identification System (AIS)

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an autonomous and continuous vessel identification and monitoring system used for maritime safety and security which allows vessels to electronically exchange with other nearby ships and authorities ashore the vessel identification data, position, course and speed.

EU fishing vessels will gradually need to be equipped with AIS transmitters:

  • As from 31 May 2012: all vessels above 24 m
  • As from 31 May 2013: all vessels above 18 m
  • 31 May 2014: all vessels above 15 m.

Member States may use AIS data for monitoring and control purposes.

Combined monitoring

The modern technologies for fisheries control do not replace traditional control and surveillance methods, such as inspections onboard vessels or on shore. However, used correctly, the new technologies help to better target actions and therefore cut costs and increase effectiveness. By crosschecking data collected via the different systems, fisheries authorities can apply risk based control strategies and detect illegal activities that could otherwise go unnoticed. Wise, proper and effective use of modern technologies significantly reduces the total costs for fisheries monitoring and surveillance.

Legislation and official documents

Corrigendum to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011 of 8 April 2011 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) No 404/2011
of 8 April 2011 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy

Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, amending Regulations (EC) No 847/96, (EC) No 2371/2002, (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 768/2005, (EC) No 2115/2005, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007, (EC) No 676/2007, (EC) No 1098/2007, (EC) No 1300/2008, (EC) No 1342/2008 and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1627/94 and (EC) No 1966/2006

Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) - Data exchange - Specific privacy statement pdf - 310 KB [310 KB]

Electronic Recording and Reporting System (ERS) - Data exchange - Specific privacy statement pdf - 175 KB [175 KB]