As discussions continue across many parts of the industry about the roll-out of remote electronic monitoring (REM), Devon and Severn IFCA (D&SIFCA) has confirmed that it has secured funds that will allow significant expansion of its own work with the technology.

D&SIFCA started trials on a single scallop vessel within the district in 2021, but is now looking for an additional nine vessels, which must hold valid permits to fish within the district, for extended trials.

The project will expand trials that involved a number of onboard cameras alongside sensors on the dredges that detect when the gear is shot away. Linked to the vessel’s GPS, this can provide alerts if, for instance, a vessel has gear in the water whilst within a restricted area.

The move comes after publication at the end of last year on the initial trials, undertaken onboard the under-15m scalloper Speculate BD 1 (pictured above), which generally tows eight dredges a side. Another potential benefit of carrying REM, the IFCA suggests, could be a derogation to fish within the district without switching towbars, as long as only six dredges are used inshore.

Vessels volunteering to participate in the trials won’t be paid, but will have the opportunity to feed back into the development and design of systems that the IFCA says aim to reduce compliance burdens, whilst also enhancing vessels’ own data collection.

The potential also exists to add to the equipment supplied, for example by adding cameras to monitor bilge levels or enginerooms at little extra cost.

The offer extends to all mobile-gear vessels with permits to fish within the D&SIFCA district, with applications being accepted until 30 April. Full details of the trials, and the report of the work undertaken aboard the Speculate, are available on the D&SIFCA website.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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