Control technologies

Control technologies

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.


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.



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.

European Commission supports FOCUS

The FOCUS (Fisheries Open Source Community Software) community has been established with the purpose to create and maintain free software dedicated to the management, conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources.

FOCUS Vision is to be the global reference innovative open source solutions for sustainable fisheries management. The community accepts donations of open source initiatives that support this vision. The accepted donations future development will be managed by FOCUS and published under a free open source licence. As FOCUS believes that information sharing is a pillar of the platform needed to perform efficient fisheries management, a strategic partnership with UN/CEFACT has been established to support the FLUX Standard for sustainable fisheries management. In reality the FOCUS suite aims at implementing the FLUX standards.

All deliverables from the FOCUS projects will be made available under an open-source licence and are free to download, change and use. We hope that any beneficiaries of FOCUS also will be giving something back to the community but this is voluntary.

FOCUS welcomes all organisations and individuals that want to contribute to the success of FOCUS. Please visit to read more.

As a member of the FOCUS Community Board, the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) supports FOCUS effort with expertise, knowledge and resources.

FLUX Transportation Layer and Protocol

The FLUX Transportation Layer (FLUX TL) is a messaging integration system developed to help Member States and third parties exchange fisheries control information among themselves and the Commission in implementing fisheries control.  Similarly, third parties (SFPAs, RFMOs) will need to use FLUX TL to exchange information with EU countries. FLUX TL uses a new standard (UN/CEFACT) that has become the format to exchange electronic fisheries information and data between Member States, Member States and the Commission, or Member States and RFMOs and SFPAs.

The FLUX transportation Protocol is a mechanism describing how to reliably deliver the messages to their destination and without human intervention. It uses state-of-the-art technologies (SOAP Web Services) to guarantee interoperability. The FLUX Protocol is defined in the following two documents:

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

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

Electronic Recording and Reporting System (ERS) - Data exchange - Specific privacy statement