The proven RockFLEET global tracking and messaging system, manufactured by UK-based Iridium satcom specialist Rock Seven, has been selected as one of four approved devices in a mandated scheme to install a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) to all commercial fishing boats in Queensland, Australia.
Under the terms of the scheme, all commercial fishing and charter boats will require a vessel tracking device to be fitted and operational by 2020. Net, crab and line boats, meanwhile, will need to have a VMS in place from January 1, 2019. Rock Seven's trusted partner Option Audio will be managing the installation and ongoing management of the units in-country.
Three other systems using alternative satellite networks have also been approved, making RockFLEET the only Iridium-based solution available for Queensland's fishing vessels. Its proven reliability ensures skippers can always meet reporting requirements under the scheme, with low initial outlay and airtime costs, while the compact, lightweight design makes it easy to install.
"The decision to implement RockFLEET as an approved device for this scheme is a measure of the unit's proven success in communicating detailed and highly reliable vessel position data," says Nick Farrell, Director, Rock Seven. "We're proud to have been selected as it's a testament to Rock Seven's increasing prominence in commercial VMS applications."
The commercial fishing industry is of crucial importance to the economic wellbeing of Australia's coastal communities: according to the Queensland Government Departure of Agriculture and Fisheries website (www.daf.qld.gov.au), Queensland's fishing fleet of several thousand licensed commercial fishing vessels accounts for 10% of Australia's seafood production in both quantity and value.
"Vessel tracking is a key element of the Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017-2027," observes Mark Furner, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, "paving the way for a world-class fisheries management system."
Furner adds that Queensland's commercial trawl fisheries have deployed vessel tracking for 15 years. "This has helped them to demonstrate the sustainability of their fishery, particularly operating in a World Heritage Area."
The new mandated tracker scheme for commercial fishing boats will enable Fisheries Queensland to monitor fishing quotas and compliance with area/seasonal closures, while also validating logbook data in terms of the time and location of fishing excursions. The collated data will also provide invaluable information and insights with regard to fish biomass.
"RockFLEET will be central to this timely and necessary strategy for vessel tracking and communication," adds Farrell, "and will be of immense assistance in securing a bright and sustainable future for Queensland's vital commercial fishing fleet."