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“Electronic Eyes” Monitor Tuna Fishing In Atlantic Ocean

A Spanish purse seiner of PEVASA 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. A company specialized in the implementation of sustainable resource management practices through at-sea and dockside observer programs, electronic monitoring solutions, and marine environmental services, 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, owns and is operating 6 modern tuna fishing vessels in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, volunteered to make its purse seiner Playa de Bakio available for the project. An expert from AZTI-Tecnalia, the Spanish the expert technology centre in Marine and Foodstuff Research, 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.