|Brackan's Spirited Ladyy in Newlyn.|
Here's an example of what has happened to the fishing industry and how closely monitored its operations have become - now, almost the entire fleet are policed remotely using a VMS (vessel Monitoring System) that tracks their every move.
Fishermen have to pay for the privilege of being watched 24/7 and maintain the equipment directly from what comes out out of the cod-end - which they are happy to do - but, if for any reason the system fails, they are immediately contacted by the MMO who insist that they report their position manually every 4 hours and return to port immediately to fix the problem - when they will be detained until they have done so!...
This is exactly what happened to the Spirited Lady III yesterday -
"That's the boat tied up and not aloud to go to return to sea until our VMS is working properly. At the cost of owner, skipper and crew. Hopefully electrical engineer down in the morning to repair unit and we only lose 24 hours fishing. How many other boats have had this problem? And how much time lost?"😡😡😡😡
After posting on social media the skipper was inundated with responses of even more draconian treatment to other skippers in similar positions:
"Up in court for it next month over 18mth ago to. Boats 11.98m but there's is the only rule in the whole of shipping vms is overall so they got us. Total farce the whole lot there more concerned if we are fishing in one of there closed boxes rather than our position if we were lost says it all."
"We were the very same,our VMS stopped working and the only way we were allowed to return back ta sea was when the VMS engineer said he had no parts to repair and we needed a new unit"
"We had ta email every 4 hrs or lat en long
its a complete heap of rubbish that and all the mmo and marine scotland are doing is gold plating idiotic rules on vms"
"We are paying for the signal and repairs,we paying for a rope to hang ourselves,fishery office,immigration,use it to our disadvantage when we gonna learn"
"I had the same the other day- it's ok as long as you stop at sea- as soon as you come in you're buggered- I have a spare unit on the boat if you get stuck- ours was the aerial connection underneath the unit so just had to replace the aerial wire-"
"I had a conversation with a man from AST, as I had no signal in Fraserburgh harbour. He told me not to worry, as it's not 100% and there's a lot of areas you don't get a signal on VMS. I was amazed he said this, and even more amazed the fisheries are using something that's not 100% reliable. The whole things a joke"
"Up in court for it next month over 18mth ago to. Boats 11.98m but there's is the only rule in the whole of shipping VMS is overall so they got us. Total farce the whole lot there more concerned if we are fishing in one of there closed boxes rather than our position if we were lost says it all."
"Makes you wonder what would happen if it was over the weekend."
Remember, many of these boats are small inshore vessels, often skipper-owned with one or two crew - like the Spirited Lady III - they are not huge ocean-going factory ships or tuna purse seiners landing catches worth hundreds of thousands of £s!