Playa de Bakio purse seiner with electronic monitoring. (Photo: TunaSeiners/archipelago.ca/FIS)
First tuna electronic monitoring trial underway
Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
A Spanish purse seiner is the first tropical tuna vessel in the world to test the latest in electronic monitoring technology, designed for instances where an onboard human observer is not a practical, or safe, option, or to supplement human observers.
The observation of fishing activities provides validation of critical catch and operational data, integral to scientific analyses and market transparency.
Experts from Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., working on behalf of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), outfitted the vessel with a video-based electronic monitoring system. The system uses an array of sensors to monitor key fishing gear, and trigger the video cameras when it detects fishing activity. An onboard control centre manages the system and logs the data, along with vessel location, speed, and heading information provided by the system's GPS receiver.
Throughout the trip, the system also delivers hourly updates via satellite, reporting vessel position, fishing activity, and other relevant information. Once the vessel returns to port, any portion of the logged data can be reviewed to help evaluate fishing activity.
“Monitoring is at the center of a sustainable fishery and this project, along with cooperation from the fishing industry, will help us understand how electronic equipment can be put to work in the real world”, ISSF President Susan Jackson said. “We are convinced of this technology's potential to help fill a void of transparency in the supply chain.”
PEVASA – a Spain-based company with a commitment to full observer coverage of its fleet – volunteered purse seiner Playa de Bakio for the project. An expert from AZTI-Tecnalia serves as an onboard observer during the vessel's trial cruises and the crew is about to head out for a second fishing trip later this month.
Borja Soroa, Managing Director of PEVASA added, “The success of this monitoring technology means that even in regions where safety is a chief concern, like it is in the Indian Ocean, observer coverage is not optional. This will become a standard for doing business and we're committed to doing our part to help make it work.”
Information from the cruises will be compiled by Archipelago and AZTI following the trials, and will be used to help ISSF keep its commitment to help industry achieve onboard observation of all commercial tuna vessels.