Electronic Monitoring (EM) offers the potential to reduce CCAMLR scientific observer tasking onboard vessels, while improving data quality, increasing data collection and improving observer safety. Fisheries observers should be utilised to fulfil and integrate the reporting requirements carried out by EM on these vessels, using a holistic approach. In the mid to longer term, integration of EM into taskings under the CCAMLR Scheme of International Scientific Observation (SISO), and the development of onshore monitoring programmes will further improve data collection (quality and quantity) and processing.
While EM includes functionality such as position reporting, the concept goes beyond existing monitoring regimes such as AIS or VMS reporting. By reporting verifiable catch and environmental data with vessel location in near-real time, EM offers an expanded suite of data collection and reporting mechanisms that can be used for fishery management. This information can be analysed and utilised remotely in real time or audited retrospectively once a vessel returns to port.
EM systems are already in use across a number of vessels operating in CCAMLR fisheries (toothfish and krill), but without any standardised facility for the onboard observer to effectively use the data collected to support their monitoring requirements.
The roll out of any EM programmes will necessitate a phased approach to enable testing and ground truthing of the situation design in situ, allowing for progressive development. This approach would facilitate engagement and cooperation with fishers to develop and integrate a system that works for all parties involved. A four-step approach to designing an effective EM system for the long term is outlined: 1) identification of management objectives and required instruments, 2) engaging in sea-trials, 3) mass processing data collected onshore and 4) a phased rollout of EM systems.