Since 2017 a number of scallop dredge vessels operating in Scottish inshore waters have had operational Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) devices on board. Now, under the first phase of the Modernisation Programme, the use of such technology is being deployed across Scottish registered scallop dredge vessels to monitor activity at sea.
A key component of the Future Fisheries Management (FFM) strategy is the £1.5 million Modernisation of the Inshore Fleet Programme – a Scottish Government commitment to more effectively monitor fishing in inshore waters by deploying appropriate and proportionate vessel tracking and monitoring technology across fleets.
The technology records parameters including position, speed, direction and winch movement detection to establish what fishing activities the vessel is engaged in at that location. Cameras trained on the dredges provide a bird’s eye view of where the fishing gear is stowed, emptied and deployed, with no intention that these identify individuals.
Fully funded voluntary installations are ongoing around Scotland and Marine Scotland’s intention is to introduce legislation to make REM technology mandatory for scallop dredge vessels. The priority is to ensure remaining eligible scallop dredge vessels take advantage of the available 2021 funding before allocation moves to the next phase in the Modernisation Programme and REM systems become mandatory.
According to Marine Scotland, there are increasing demands on the inshore marine environment as a variety of sectors want to utilise resources.
‘The Modernisation Programme aims to help address the challenges this poses by enhancing the fisheries evidence base and enabling improved interaction between the fishing industry and other marine users. The Modernisation Programme will help to deliver accountability and confidence in our fleets, provide a more detailed profile of Scotland’s inshore fisheries, to aid and improve management measures, and to help sustain this important industry for our coastal communities,’ a Marine Scotland representative stated.
Anyone wishing to have the funded REM unit installed can contact Marine Scotland’s Fully Documented Fisheries (FDF) Unit, which will advise on the process and supply the necessary paperwork, with a view to arranging an installation this summer.
‘The FFM Strategy has set out a clear direction of travel regarding vessel REM in Scotland. We are tailoring the deployment of REM across our fishing sectors to reflect the varied nature of fishing activity. We will shortly consult on rollout of REM in Scotland using a proportionate and risk-based approach,’Marine Scotland stated.