Defra consults on electronic monitoring of fishing boats

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is consulting on whether monitoring technology could be used to track fishing boats in English waters.

A call for evidence has been published on the use of integrated onboard systems of cameras, sensors, video storage and GPS to prevent overfishing.

This is part of the UK’s preparation for its transition out of the EU at the end of this year, following which - subject to any trade agreement - it will take control of managing fisheries in its waters.

Defra stated that the government is looking to utilise new technology to improve the management of fisheries for long term sustainability, helping boats show they are fishing in line with their catch allowances.

“Remote electronic monitoring technology could provide important information on the state of our fish stocks and help shape how we manage our fisheries in the future,” explained Victoria Prentis, the fisheries minister. “We therefore want to hear from those who will be affected by its use and give them a say in how we manage our fisheries as an independent coastal state.

“While the technology is already being used on a voluntary basis by some fishing vessels to show compliance with the landing obligation - which prohibits the discarding of fish - via the English Fully Documented Fisheries scheme, the call for evidence seeks views on expanding its use in English waters,” Prentis added.

Last month, the Marine Management Organisation highlighted steps that fishing vessels should take to comply with regulations, including those under 10 metres recording catches on an app in accordance with their licence conditions, with larger boats making submissions through electronic logbooks and sales notes through the Electronic Reporting System.

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