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Commercial Fishing

ELECTRONIC OBSERVATION VERSUS MANUAL METHODS OF RECORDING FISH CATCHES

ELECTRONIC OBSERVATION VERSUS MANUAL (2)

Electronic observation versus manual methods of recording fish catches. Electronic observation systems on board fishing vessels (also known as Electronic Monitoring or EM) are the most accurate and reliable source of data for the development of selective fishing practices and for the control of compliance with management measures because of their ability to be verified. This is the main conclusion of a study, coordinated by the environmental organisation The Nature Conservancy, which shows the remarkable differences between catch and bycatch records obtained with EM systems versus those recorded in traditional logbooks.

The research has been carried out on 15 ships dedicated to tropical tuna longline fishing in the Western Pacific and equipped with the electronic monitoring system of the Spanish technological company Satlink, called SeaTube. Specifically, the researchers have analysed the data collected by this solution from a total of 98 trips in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Marshalls Islands.

According to the study, the biggest difference between the two recording systems occurred in the case of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) caught in Palau waters, whose estimated catches calculated from the EM are up to 1.3 (30%) times higher than those recorded in the logbooks. Likewise, also in Palau, estimates of shark bycatch calculated from EM were almost eight times higher than those obtained from logbooks. In addition, according to the study, the EM system identifies a greater variety of species in each haul, specifically, between eight and ten, compared to those shown by the logbooks, approximately five to eight.

In this sense, the authors point out that the widespread use of these systems by governments and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) would improve the accuracy of target and non-target catch reporting, including species whose populations are in decline, and would provide more reliable data for scientific assessments on which to base more precise measures for sustainable resource management.

The authors also stress the value of these systems for improving the management of fisheries that, like the Pacific longline fishery, have low human observer coverage, with a minimum rate of 5% recommended by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the possibility of increasing this rate to 20% as suggested by scientific organizations.

Spanish technology
The Satlink solution installed on those 15 vessels consists of 3-4 high-resolution digital video cameras that record onboard activity uninterruptedly in a tamper-evident manner. In addition, the ships have a geolocation antenna that provides the watermark of date, time, and location on each video.

The recorded data has been verified by local analysts certified by the Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Observer Programme and trained by Digital Observer Service (DOS) personnel. This company, part of the Satlink group, specialises in analysing video information collected by the SeaTube system and generating accurate scientific reports on catch composition, size, bycatch and confirming fishing grounds. In fact, since 2014, it has trained more than 150 professionals worldwide in EM data analysis.

It should be noted that Satlink is one of the world leaders in this type of EM systems, with more than 250 installations for monitoring and managing the fishing activity of various fisheries in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, in collaboration with governments, NGOs and ship owners. In the case of the Pacific Ocean, the Spanish company leads this market with more than 110 ships of fleets from nine countries monitored.

About Satlink
Founded in 1992 by Faustino Velasco, Satlink is a Spanish technological company focused on the development of Internet of Things (IoT) and connectivity end to end solutions. As a world leading provider of technological solutions for the fishing segment (both the industry and fisheries regulators), Satlink is committed to fishing sustainability and ocean’s conservation. Headquartered in Madrid, Satlink has offices in Spain (Marin), Seychelles, Ecuador, USA, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Korea and Taiwan while working with local partners in other locations. www.satlink.es

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