Remote Electronic Monitoring in Fisheries

Project title: Remote Electronic Monitoring in Fisheries

Partners: Matís, Icelandic Directorate of Fisheries, Icelandic Marine & Freshwater Research Institute, Aquamind, DTU aqua, Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries

Initial year: 2019

Service Category:

Demersal fish


Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson

Head of Value Creation

Monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) are challenging in wild capture fisheries and insufficient MCS has resulted in unsustainable fishing practices, data limitations in stock assessment and management, lack of transparency and unfair competitive advantage for those not following the rules. Major expenses and efforts are awarded to MCS, but effectiveness and coverage is generally very limited. There are however a number of emerging and already available technological solutions that can be applied to significantly improve MCS and reduce costs at the same time. These solutions are generally referred to as Electronic Monitoring (EM) or Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) solutions. A conference was held on the subject in Reykjavík in 2019 where current status of REM research and implementation was discussed, along with latest developments in REM technology. The conference was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers working group for fisheries (AG fisk) and one of the key objectives were to discuss how REM can contribute to improved MCS in the Nordic countries.

The Nordic countries are generally considered to have well-regulated fisheries and relatively good MCS. The authorities in these countries do however also understand that they need to keep up with new technology and use them when applicable to improve their fisheries. Denmark, Norway and Iceland have for example been awarding increasing attention to REM in recent years. As part of that work, the Nordic Council's Working Group for Fisheries (AG-Fisk) funded a networking project in 2019 that was to facilitate a conference on REM, where experts in the field would present information on current state and emerging solutions for Fully Documented Fisheries (FDF). The conference was held in November 2019 in Reykjavík. The presentations from the conference are available below. The conference proceedings along with short summary are also presented in this report. The report also contains concluding remarks where the most important issues are summarized, and comments made on developments that have taken place from the time of the conference until the publication of the report.

It is obvious that EM will not solve all problems when it comes to MCS of fisheries, but such solutions can be important tools to facilitate more efficient MCS and even reduce cost and / or increase coverage. The Nordic countries have not been at the forefront of implementing REM technologies (possibly with the exception of Denmark) where countries such as Canada, US, New Zealand, Australia and Chile have paved the way. The Nordic countries are therefore in the position to learn from those that have gone before them, use what has proven to be successful and avoid making the mistakes they did.

Several relevant pilot trials and research projects are currently ongoing in the Nordic countries and at European level. There are also ongoing similar initiatives elsewhere in the world and full implementation of some elements of REM are also taking place. It is important for the Nordic regions to follow and take part in these initiatives, as it is evident that REM solutions can be extremely effective tools for MCS in the future.

The Conference

The conference was held in Reykjavík on the 7th of November 2019 and was run as a special session during the Icelandic Seafood Conference. Following is the conference agenda and the presentations can be seen by clicking on the presentation title.

13:00 - 13:20 - Global overview of REM in fisheries - Jónas R. Viðarsson (Matís)

13:20 - 13:40 - Available technical solutions for REM - Leifur Magnússon (Icelandic Directorate of Fisheries)

13:40 - 14:00 - Fully documented fisheries trials in Denmark - Kristian Schreiber Plet-Hansen (DTU)

14:00 - 14:20 - The Value of Catch Identification: EM in Norwegian fisheries - Thord Monsen (Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries)

14:20 - 14:40 - Experience from the implementation of camera surveillance in Chile - Luis Cocas (Ministry of Fisheries in Chile)

14: 45-15: 15 Coffee break

15:15 - 15:35 - The evolution of a commercial fishery: Experience of a Canadian fisherman– Wes Erikson (Fourth Generation Fishing Co. Ltd.)

15:35 - 15:55 - REM of Scottish fisheries - Helen Holah & Neil Campbell (Marine Scotland)

15:55 - 16:15 - The EU landing obligation and REM - Clara Ulrich (IFREMER & STECF) & Kristian S. Plet-Hansen (DTU)

16:15 - 17:00 - Panel discussions

The organizing committee

The organizing committee for the conference and responsibility for the overall project includes the following persons:

  • Jónas R. Viðarsson - Matís Iceland (chair)
  • Leifur Magnússon - Icelandic Directorate of Fisheries
  • Ásta Guðmundsdóttir - Icelandic Marine & Freshwater Research Institute
  • Mogens Schou - Aquamind, Denmark
  • Kristian Schreiber Plet hansen - DTU aqua, Denmark
  • Thord Monsen - Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries
  • Áslaug Eir Hólmgeirsdóttir - Icelandic Directorate of Fisheries

For inquiries on the project, contact the project leader