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Automating Data Acquisition from Vessels under 12 Metres in Length

The project aims to develop or adopt methods for automating data acquisition from inshore fishing vessels using digital methods. Data provision for the majority of the inshore fleet (<12m in length) is very poor with no direct reporting of landings for vessels under 10m, little information on fishing effort and poor information on location. The number of registered under 12m vessels in the Irish fleet, which mainly fish for shellfish inside 6nm, is approximately 1,900. Paper based reporting systems are not suitable for this number of vessels but automation is technically possible. The design of digitised systems needs to be user friendly, and be acceptable and usable by fishermen, and unit (vessel) costs need to be realistic and proportionate considering the annual value of the landings per vessel.

This project is building on a system already operating in the Irish Sea, where the location of fishing operations is monitored using a fleet tracking system, and adds functionality to enable capture of fishing effort and catch or landings data. The evaluation of these methods includes how the data could be seamlessly streamed to existing or modified databases, hardware costs, depreciation and reliability and also how fishermen interact with the system. Improved data provision is important for a range of reasons such as fisheries monitoring and assessment, marine spatial planning, assessing fishing pressure on the environment and seafood traceability.

The project is divided into a number of tasks and procured in 5 separate lots

  1. Procurement and evaluation of a range of different vessel tracking systems
  2. Evaluation of fishing gear deployment and recovery sensors coupled to the vessel tracking system to pinpoint where and when fishing gears are deployed
  3. Methods for the electronic (digitised) reporting of catch such as mobile phone forms
  4. Data management and data visualization in real time for monitoring purposes and in particular how data from different systems can be integrated to a single database
  5. Management of installations and maintenance of the systems

The inshore fishing sector, The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM)


The project has a 2 year duration and runs between 2017 and 2018.

Project Outputs:

The project is ongoing. The expected outcomes are listed below:

  1. iVMS data sets for 80 dredging vessels under 12m in length
  2. Demonstration of the feasibility of acquiring fisheries data from inshore vessels
  3. Interfaces to real time visualisation of vessel positions procured
  4. Maps of data sets acquired showing high resolution spatial data
  5. Mid-term report on implementation of the project
Expected Benefit:

1. Improved fisheries advice to DAFM
2. Mapping of fishing pressures in relation to Natura 2000 sites and for MSFD descriptors
3. Fishing maps for marine spatial planning
4. Improved data on landings, effort and economic value of the sector
5. Improved traceability for seafood with knock on benefits to marketing

Further Information:
Contact Oliver Tully, Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Co. Galway at
Project Cost - Projected:
Project Status: