With fisheries laws becoming much more technical, the way coastal states are monitoring their fishing fleet is evolving.


This month, the Environment, Natural Resources and Planning Portfolio’s (ENRP) Marine Enforcement Section will be installing a Remote Electronic Monitoring System on the fishing vessel John Melliss as part of an equipment trial.


The John Melliss will be fitted with a camera system that can count fish, identify the species and measure fish as they are brought on board the vessel and processed. The vessel will also be fitted with a weather station and other sensors to allow ENRP to collect important meteorological and oceanographic data.


The John Melliss was selected for this trial as it is the only vessel in the St Helena fleet that is actively engaged in offshore fishing.


The John Melliss will gain no fishing advantage from taking part in this trial and the master of the vessel is working with the Marine Enforcement Section to modify the on-board working practices to allow the system to work effectively.


The system and expertise required to allow this project to take place has been provided through Blue Belt Programme funding. An officer from the UK Marine Management Organisation is currently on-Island to oversee the installation and provide training on the installation and use of the REM system.


The results of this trial could affect the way many UK Overseas Territories monitor their fishing industry and will help St Helena meet its obligations as a member of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).


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