The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has begun to look at whether monitoring technology could used more widely on fishing boats in English waters.
It has opened a call for evidence on the use of integrated onboard systems of cameras, gear sensors, video storage and GPS to prevent overfishing.
The move comes as the UK prepares to complete its transition out of the EU at the end of the year following which, subject to any trade agreement, it will take full control of managing fisheries in its waters.
Defra said the Government is aiming to utilise new technology to improve the management of fisheries for long term sustainability. The equipment could help fishermen show they are fishing in line with their catch allowances.
Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said: “Remote electronic monitoring technology could provide important information on the state of our fish stocks and help shape how we manage our fisheries in the future. We therefore want to hear from those who will be affected by its use and give them a say in how we manage our fisheries as an independent coastal state.
“While the technology is already being used on a voluntary basis by some fishing vessels to show compliance with the landing obligation – which prohibits the discarding of fish – via the English Fully Documented Fisheries scheme, the call for evidence seeks views on expanding its use in English waters.”
Last month the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) highlighted steps that different sized fishing vessels should take to comply with regulations. These include those under 10 metres recording catches on an app in accordance with their licence conditions, larger boats making submissions through electronic logbooks, and the provision of sales notes through the Electronic Reporting System.
Image by Alan Jamieson, CC BY 2.0 though flickr