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Automating data acquisition for vessels under 12m in length Phase 2

Project Outputs

The project aims to develop or adopt methods for automating data acquisition from inshore fishing vessels. Data provision for the majority of the inshore fleet (<10m in length) is extremely poor with no direct reporting of landings, effort or position. The number of registered under 12m vessels (mainly targeting shellfish inside 6nm) is approximately 1900 although probably about half this number are active. Paper based reporting systems are not suitable for this number of vessels but automation is technically possible depending on how the system is designed and how user (industry) acceptance can be optimised. This project would build on the iVMS project now operating mainly in the Irish Sea by expanding iVMS to other fleets but more importantly adding functionality to enable capture of fishing effort and catch data. The approach would be to ‘cherry pick’ from known applications and methods that are now on the market or possible to develop relatively simply. The evaluation of these methods would be based on how the data could be seamlessly streamed to existing or modified databases, hardware costs, reliability and importantly how the operators (fishermen) interface with the system. Improved data provision is important for a range of reasons including stock assessment, pressure monitoring for MSFD, activity mapping for MSP, seafood hygiene regulations and control of fisheries TACs and other measures. The Marine Institute will lead the project in 2019 under the guidance of DAFM and the regional (RIFF) and national (NIFF) industry forums.

1.       The Marine Institute are currently contracting services from Applied Satellite Technology Ltd (AST), Succorfish Ltd and IDS Monitoring for the provision of iVMS and gear sensor hardware, data transmission, data hosting, data API and integration and maintenance of the systems. The project in 2019 and 2020 will maintain these contracts for services. There is a regulatory requirement for vessels fishing with hydraulic dredges for razor clams to report VMS position when fishing which the project is responsible for.

2.       Detecting Fishing events: Work will continue with service providers on gear sensors to identify fishing events within the larger iVMS data set using a range of radio, Bluetooth sensors and also sensors that record depth and temperature when fishing gear is in the water and uses this to provide information on location of gear deployment and recovery. In addition, modelling of iVMS data will be undertaken to identify patterns in fishing vessel behaviour.

3.       Data integration: given that iVMS data could be provided by multiple providers (currently 3) and that any future rollout of these systems to the under 12m fleet could be single or multiple supplier the project will demonstrate how data from different systems can be pushed, using API, to a single interface. This is critical to effective control.

4.       Evaluation of solar powered units. Based on experience to date with units relying on vessel power and because of variability in how that power is provided the project will evaluate the efficacy of solar powered iVMS units. Some of these have already been installed but different units from existing and other suppliers will be evaluated.

Maintenance contracts: maintaining iVMS systems installed on vessels is critical to avoiding loss of fishing time (due to tie up) and loss of unrecorded fishing time. The quality and implementation of the service level agreements between suppliers and MI will be further evaluated and lessons learnt will be included in project guidelines.

The Marine Institute will lead the project in 2019 under the guidance of DAFM and the regional (RIFF) and national (NIFF) industry forums. 


The project has a 2 year duration and runs between 2019 and 2020.

Project Outputs:

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

  1. iVMS and gear sensor data sets for dredging and potting 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 and data integration.
  4. Maps of data sets acquired showing high resolution spatial data.
  5. Report on implementation of the project including types of data, systems, costs, depreciation and recommendations on larger scale roll out.
Expected Benefit:
  1. Improved fisheries advice to DAFM.
  2. Mapping of fishing pressures in relation to Natura 2000 sites and for MSFD descriptors.
  3. Improved data on landings, effort and economic value of the sector.
  4. Will improved interaction with RIFFs and allow the agencies to improve services to these groups.
  5. Better data required for ICES and STECF data calls and to deliver the DCF.
Further Information:
Contact Oliver Tully, Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Co. Galway at
Project Cost - Projected:
Project Status: