Industry support VMS to monitor Commonwealth fisheries

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is pleased to announce that vessel monitoring system (VMS) compliance from Commonwealth fisheries reached a peak of 99.4% as a result of AFMA’s recent zero-tolerance campaign.

The effort from industry during a recent campaign targeting VMS non-compliance, including failure to have a fully functioning VMS and failure to seek approval to switch off the VMS unit, demonstrated that Australia’s Commonwealth fishers are committed to supporting well-monitored fisheries.

Throughout the month AFMA received 13 Temporary Switch Off applications, seven fishers were referred for follow up by AFMA’s domestic compliance team and one operator was ordered to return to port to rectify their VMS unit.

We know industry support VMS and almost 100% compliance demonstrates to the Australian public that industry also support sustainable fisheries, said AFMA’s CEO Wez Norris.

“VMS compliance increased from 94.7% in January to a high point of 99.4% during the campaign” reported Mr Norris.

“VMS is a vital tool that assists fisheries managers in monitoring compliance with fishery management arrangements, and in particular protect areas closed to fishing.”

“The vast majority of Commonwealth fishers follow the VMS rules, but it is important to not let compliance rates drop and that was the purpose of the recent campaign.”

“VMS compliance not only help us manage our fisheries, but it also provides the Australian public with the assurance that Commonwealth commercial fishers are doing the right thing”.

VMS has been mandatory on Commonwealth fishing boats since 2007 and on Torres Strait boats since 2018.

Australia has the third largest fishing zone in the world and VMS provides AFMA the ability to track and monitor every one of the Australian Commonwealth fishing boats in any part of the fishing zone and even on the high seas.

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