Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Big Brother protecting our fish stocks.

Download PDFDownload PDF

Last updated: 21 April 2005

Big Brother protecting our fish stocks

DAFF05/057M 21 April 2005

Australia will continue to support the use of vessel monitoring systems (VMS) as a surveillance tool and will encourage further research into its potential capabilities, Australian Fisheries Minister, Senator Ian Macdonald, said today.

Speaking at the 2005 INMARSAT Vessel Monitoring Conference in Cairns, Senator Macdonald said Australia regarded VMS as a valuable tool to keep pace with the movement of licensed vessels.

“It is the Big Brother of the ocean,” Senator Macdonald said.

“VMS help fisheries management agencies ensure compliance by collecting information on vessel positions, courses and speed. They use the information to determine if a vessel is complying with relevant management arrangements.”

Senator Macdonald said the Australian Fisheries Management Authority managed a VMS for fishing vessels operating in several fisheries. The system monitors about 500 boats.

“They are most useful in Australia’s quota-managed fisheries to monitor compliance with different quotas in different zones, to keep an eye on catches against competitive quotas and to monitor closures in input-managed fisheries,” Senator Macdonald said.

Senator Macdonald is also one of the world’s Fisheries Ministers leading the charge to have a centralised VMS installed on boats operating in the Southern Ocean.

“If you’re one of the good guys going about your business in a legitimate way, there’s nothing to worry about,” he said.

“But for the rogue operators, it will mean an end to their plundering of international fish stocks after sneaking under the radar.”

Senator Macdonald said the introduction of VMS in Australia had proved successful and its commercial acceptance had been high. Safety measures associated with the system had also been recognised and appreciated by vessel operators.

Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald’s office: David Crisafulli (07) 4771 3066 or 0400 144 483

© Commonwealth of Australia 2002-2005 | Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry | Other DAFF Ministers | Prime Minister