Clarification on approved vessel monitoring systems for Commonwealth-managed fisheries

Commonwealth and Torres Strait operators are reminded to use Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) units from the approved list only when operating in Commonwealth fisheries.

Recently the Australian Fisheries Management Authority’s (AFMA) counterparts from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF),  released their new Vessel Tracking Policy and Installation and Maintenance Guide, as part of their overall Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.

As part of the QDAF vessel tracking policy they have authorised the use of two VMS tracking units known as the Spot Trace and YB3I.

While these units are suitable for some of QDAF’s fisheries, they are not suitable for use in Commonwealth and Torres Strait fisheries managed by AFMA.

AFMA requires VMS units:

  • meet the international standards required by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs),
  • are capable of two way communication to allow for remote programming, and
  • that are not easily transferable between vessels.

QDAF and AFMA are reminding all Commonwealth and Torres Strait concession holders, including dual endorsed operators, to ensure they check the VMS requirements for the fishery they are operating in before purchasing any new units.

For vessels operating in AFMA managed fisheries, operators need to ensure they only select a VMS unit listed on the AFMA list of approved units.

For more information on vessel monitoring, visit afma.gov.au.