Mandatory monitoring set for Scotland’s scallop dredger fleet

Photo: Marine Scotland

All scallop dredging vessels operating in Scotland will be required to have remote electronic monitoring (REM) devices fitted on board as part of an initiative to more effectively monitor and regulate fishing in the country’s inshore waters.

Since 2017, in accordance with existing legislation, a number of scallop dredgers operating in Scottish inshore waters have had operational REM devices onboard. Now, under the first phase of the £1.5 million (US$2.07 million) Modernisation of the Inshore Fleet Programme of the Scottish government, the use of such technology is being deployed across Scottish-registered scallop dredgers to monitor activity at sea.

The REM technology uses GPS and other data such as speed, direction, and winch movement detection, to ascertain vessel location and what fishing activities the vessel is engaged in at that location. Cameras focused on the dredgers provide a bird’s-eye view of where the dredges are stowed, emptied, and launched from, though there is no intention that they identify individuals.

Marine Scotland said that fully funded voluntary installations are ongoing around Scotland and that the intention is to introduce legislation to make REM technology mandatory for scallop dredge vessels.

The directorate said its priority therefore is to ensure remaining eligible scallop dredge vessel operators take advantage of the available 2021 funding before allocation moves to the next phase in the modernisation programme and REM systems become mandatory.

Interested operators who wish to have the funded REM unit installed or who have any further queries are advised to contact Marine Scotland’s Fully Documented Fisheries (FDF) Unit at [email protected] The FDF Unit will provide guidance throughout the process and send the necessary paperwork, with a view to arranging an installation this summer.

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