Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Have you been subject to a VMS prosection?

Are you a fisherman or boat owner that has been prosecuted for an alleged fishing offence, where the prosecution have relied wholly or in part, on vessel monitoring data? 

If so, the industry are seeking your help!

I am collating data for research that is being concluded in the next few weeks and am seeking historic prosecution papers - specifically illustrated drawings relied on by the prosecution depicting the vessel transiting across land as part of the route. 

VMS or in this case AIS tracks that traverse the land.

Sounds an odd request for charts showing boat on land - but we know there may be many more fishermen to come forward with paperwork that may assist the research. Please contact me in confidence on:

07402 089170 or via NUTFA on sarah@nutfa.co.uk

SWFPO's Jim Portus has some thoughts on the matter:

Vessel Monitoring Systems or VMS is in regular use around the world nowadays. It can be a useful tool for monitoring, the clue is in the name, but enforcement requires additional information and evidence gathering with intelligent use of the data. Some authorities have prosecuted on the basis of the VMS data alone, relying on intimidation to secure conviction with the promise of a modest fixed penalty or FAP that offers a quick and attractive solution for busy working fishermen. In such cases there is no presumption of innocence! 

This research is gathering cases where VMS tracks clearly show nonsense, where the system has erred and the vessel is shown to have crossed the coastline because of aberrations. We all know that VMS is not 100% accurate, but just how often is it inaccurate beyond appreciable limits

Please assist innocent fishermen whose livelihoods and reputations are at the mercy of authorities whose use of this tool is excessive and anything but intelligent.