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This paper describes the trial of VMS equipment on Australian licensed fishing vessels operating in the Convention Area during the 1996/97 season. The benefits to fisheries managers and individual fishers are detailed, together with the operational costs of VMS equipment. A range of conclusions are drawn from the trial; notably that VMS is a cost effective measure for a flag State to monitor fishing activities of its vessels and that VMS offers a range of capabilities that cannot be readily achieved by other means. The paper recommends that all CCAMLR Members implement VMS and, through its use, help in detecting those fishing vessels which are not monitored or which may be acting in contravention to CCAMLR objectives.