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Commercial Fishing



UK firm cries foul as DEFRA awards UK Fisheries Vessel Monitoring contract to overseas company in opaque tender. French company will monitor French fishing vessels operating in UK waters.

UK company Globavista Ltd has raised strong objections to the way that DEFRA has stripped it of its longstanding Fisheries Vessel Monitoring System (FVMS) contract and awarded it to an overseas company with a potential conflict of interest.

The complaint focuses on a pre-qualification process using a selection questionnaire intended to ensure that only suitably experienced contractors with appropriate products could submit a full tender proposal. Having supplied a market-leading and continuously evolving FVMS solution to DEFRA for more than 20 years Globavista was stunned to be advised by DEFRA that it had failed to qualify to participate in the full tender process on the basis that it had been scored at 4th place with only three final bidders allowed.

Formal requests for clarification were made to DEFRA by Globavista but were not answered in a timely manner and certainly not until it was clear that the bidding process had concluded, and a contract provisionally awarded.

“Globavista welcomes a competitive tender process for any contract renewal,” says Steve Jones, Chairman of Globavista, “but it needs to be open and transparent. The provisional award of the contract to a French part government-owned contractor, Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), also raises questions given the often fractious nature of the relationship between the UK and French fishing fleets, which is not likely to improve post-Brexit, and the political power of the French fishing lobby.”

In a recent article in the Sunday times Andrew Bridgen, MP for NW Leicestershire, was quoted as saying, “It is ludicrous at a time when we are supposed to be taking back control of our fisheries that we are handing over policing them to a company part-owned by the French government.”

“We are looking for answers as to why we were summarily excluded with no explanation,” says Steve Jones, “and why such a dissonant choice of provider was made given the current fear and uncertainty surrounding the future of the UK fishing industry.”