Environmental Monitoring

Electronic Eyes Monitor Tuna Fishing

February 16, 2012

The observation of fishing activities provides validation of critical catch and operational data, integral to scientific analyses and market transparency.

ABIDJAN, Cote d'Ivoire /PRNewswire/ -- A Spanish purse seiner is the "first tropical tuna vessel in the world to test the latest in electronic monitoring technology, designed for instances where an onboard human observer is not a practical or safe option or to supplement human observers. The observation of fishing activities provides validation of critical catch and operational data, integral to scientific analyses and market transparency.

Experts from Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., working on behalf of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), outfitted the vessel with a video-based electronic monitoring system. The system uses an array of sensors to monitor key fishing gear, and trigger the video cameras when it detects fishing activity. An onboard control center manages the system and logs the data, along with vessel location, speed, and heading information provided by the system's GPS receiver. Throughout the trip, the system also delivers hourly updates via satellite, reporting vessel position, fishing activity, and other relevant information. Once the vessel returns to port, any portion of the logged data can be reviewed to help evaluate fishing activity.

"Monitoring is at the center of a sustainable fishery, and this project, along with cooperation from the fishing industry, will help us understand how electronic equipment can be put to work in the real world," ISSF President Susan Jackson said. "We are convinced of this technology's potential to help fill a void of transparency in the supply chain."

Pevasa, a Spain-based company, with a commitment to full observer coverage of its fleet, volunteered purse seiner Playa de Bakio for the project. An expert from AZTI-Tecnalia serves as an onboard observer during the vessel's trial cruises, and the crew is about to head out for a second fishing trip later this month.

Borja Soroa, Managing Director of PEVASA, added, "The success of this monitoring technology means that even in regions where safety is a chief concern, like it is in the Indian Ocean, observer coverage is not optional. This will become a standard for doing business, and we're committed to doing our part to help make it work."

Information from the cruises will be compiled by Archipelago and AZTI following the trials, and will be used to help ISSF keep its commitment to help industry achieve onboard observation of all commercial tuna vessels.

About Archipelago
Archipelago Marine Research Ltd. is a world leader in the use of electronic monitoring in the fishing industry. From its headquarters in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, the company's team of 175+ industry professionals helps fisheries, coastal communities, and government organizations around the world to implement sustainable resource management practices through at-sea and dockside observer programs, electronic monitoring solutions, and marine environmental services. For more information, contact info@archipelago.ca.

About AZTI-Tecnalia
AZTI-Tecnalia, the expert technology centre in marine and foodstuff research, is a foundation whose aim is social development and enhancement of competitiveness in its sectors of action, the sea and foodstuffs, by means of research and technological innovation. Its staff is made up of a multidisciplinary team of professionals and is organized into two units: Marine Research and Foodstuff Research, with the assistance of analysis and testing services and the sampling area. In 2011, it comprises over 220 people. AZTI-Tecnalia is part of the Tecnalia Technology Corp., along with NEIKER-Tecnalia and Tecnalia Research & Innovation.

About ISSF
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation is a global coalition of scientists, the tuna industry, and World Wildlife Fund, the "world's leading conservation organization," promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch, and promoting ecosystem health.

About Pevasa
Pevasa is a fishing company involved in building, fitting out, and operating tuna fishing vessels in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It currently owns and operates 6 modern vessels. Founder of Pevaeche Fishing Group, it supplies tuna to the canning industry worldwide since 1961.

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