Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) are employed by AFMA for the delivery of near real time vessel information via International Maritime Satellite (INMARSAT) communications in order to effectively monitor the movements of all Commonwealth endorsed fishing vessels.
Each VMS unit is configured to routinely produce positional reports which contain information such as the vessel’s current location, course and speed for the purpose of domestic compliance, fisheries management and research.
Once positional reports are received at AFMA, the data is automatically displayed as plots on marine charts for the intended purpose of conducting appropriate geospatial analysis. Additionally, AFMA can request updated reports from a vessel at any time including sending notifications.
The VMS system is a vital tool in assisting fisheries managers to achieve compliance with fishery management arrangements, particularly where fishing activity needs to be restricted to certain areas or zones. Additionally, the system has improved the quality of location derived data for research purposes.
VMS also offers many ancillary benefits to the fishing industry such as automatic alert notifications designed to raise awareness upon entering protected areas such as Commonwealth Marine Reserves.