The Solomon Islands’ Government has selected technology developed by Spanish engineering company Satlink, to better monitor and manage fishing activity on longline vessels. By adopting this electronic monitoring technology, this Pacific archipelago country takes a further step towards supporting its commitment to fight against illegal fishing and thus preserve one of the most important sectors of their economy.
With this decision, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) follows the recommendations of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to employ technological solutions as a complement to human observer coverage and improve fisheries management.
The signed agreement with the MFMR authorises Satlink to install certified electronic monitoring systems, called SeaTube (also known as electronic observer or EM-Electronic Monitoring) on nine tropical tuna longline vessels.
The installation on each vessel will include high-definition cameras and hydraulic sensors that will record and monitor fishing activity. On shore, videos will be analysed post-trip by authorised personnel to generate accurate reports that will include catch composition, size, by-catch designation and fishing areas. With this system, the MFMR will have an ability to improve fishery management and in effect increase their observer programme coverage.
Within the scope of the project, Satlink will develop local capabilities by training a team of ten observers and nine technicians to operate and self manage the EM system. The on-shore analysis system will be set up in two main fishing port locations, Noro and Honiara.
The Solomon Islands is a member of the WCPFC and is required to have a minimum of 5% human observer coverage for the longline fleet and 100% coverage for the purse seine fleet.
The installation of SeaTube on these nine longline vessels is therefore the first phase of a project that seeks to provide electronic and/or human observation to all tuna longline and purse-seine vessels with the financial support of the World Bank, through its Pacific Regional Oceanscape Programme (PROP).
The Solomon Islands Government and Satlink collaborated on a pilot project in 2014 to increase transparency in the management of this fishery. EM equipment installed on two tuna longliners showed the effectiveness of this technology, it improved traceability, certification and sustainability of the fishery as well as complemented human observer coverage.