Position reporting, or tracking of a fishing vessel, requires a vessel to be equipped with a transmitter programmed to send data about the vessel’s position, course and speed at least once an hour to the fishery authorities. Norwegian fishing vessels with a length of 24 meters or more have been required to comply with position reporting since 2000, while vessels of 15 meters or more have been subject to this requirement since 2005, when fishing in EU waters.
Foreign vessels of 24 meters or more (15 meters or more in the case of EU vessels) are subject to position reporting when they operate in Norwegian waters. According to international agreements, it is the responsibility of the flag state to establish a Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) where the position reports and the data on catch and landings is received, where quality control of the data takes place and, when relevant, the data is forwarded to other national FMCs.
In Norway, the Fisheries Monitoring Centre is located at the Directorate of Fisheries in Bergen. Experience has shown that all electronic reporting must be based on the so-called «Flag State Principle». According to this principle, the flag state is responsible for the reports from all vessels carrying its flag. If fishing by a Norwegian vessel takes place in the waters of another coastal state, the required reports are to be forwarded to the FMC of that coastal state.
Likewise, a foreign vessel reports via its national FMC when fi shing in Norwegian waters. At present, around 350 Norwegian vessels are subject to the tracking requirement. From 1 October this requirement will be extended to include vessels between 21 and 24 meters and thus include around 100 new vessels. The Norwegian fisheries authorities plan to lower the threshold further from 1 January 2009, thereby increasing the number of vessels subject to this requirement.
Catch and Activity Reporting
When Norwegian vessels fish in the economic zones of other countries or in international waters, they are obliged to send various reports of their fishing activities to the fisheries authorities of the coastal state or to the responsible regional fi sheries management organisatition. Until recently, all required reports were sent by telefax.
Since 2004, the Directorate of Fisheries has given Norwegian fishing vessels the possibility to submit their reports electronically. In order to facilitate this, the Directorate has developed SatRap®, a small computer program which is sent to fishing vessels free of charge. SatRap® encrypts and authenticates reports so that reports can be sent safely over the Internet.
All relevant information, including the final recipient of the report, is registered in Sat- Rap®, and the report can be sent by e-mail to the Directorate of Fisheries. The established receival system at the Directorate of Fisheries identifies the final recipient of the report and, if required, forwards it automatically.
Norway is currently a signatory to agreements on electronic transfer of catch and activity reports from most of the waters where Norwegian fishing vessels operate. Electronic reporting has long been possible within NAFO, EU, NEAFC and CCAMLR. In 2008 pilot projects have also been established for electronic reporting when fishing in the waters of the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. To date, around 100 Norwegian vessels have opted to submit their catch and activity reports electronically.
In the same way, vessels of the countries which have fisheries agreements with Norway can report electronically when fishing in Norwegian waters. So far only a few Danish vessels have exercised this option.
The Directorate of Fisheries is taking steps to facilitate the reporting of catches based on an electronic logbook, as an alternative to the current paperbased logbook. The Directorate will not develop a specific electronic logbook, but will establish the requirements related to content, format and reporting frequency that the electronic logbooks must meet. These requirements have still to be finalised.
The fishery authorities expect that private ITcompanies, possibly in cooperation with the owners of fishing vessels, will develop logbook solutions which meet the requirements of the fishery authorities. Several companies are currently working in this direction. The underlying principle used by the
Directorate of Fisheries is that the official information in the electronic logbook shall be accessible in the Directorate’s databases.
Reporting of logbook data is required to be carried out in the same way as other electronic reporting (i.e. in accordance with the Flag State Principle whereby reports are sent as encrypted e-mail and the sender of data is uniquely identified).
In 2007, the Directorate of Fisheries started a pilot project with a Norwegian company to develop and test an electronic logbook on 20 cod trawlers. The participating trawlers have submitted logbook reports in different periods. If further analysis of both the information received and the chosen communication solution prove satisfactory, the vessels may be awarded a dispensation from the need to keep a paperbased logbook for when fi shing
in Norwegian waters.
In 2008 and 2009, Norwegian fishery authorities will continue to discuss the matter of electronic reporting of fishing activities with our neighbouring countries. The purpose is to establish common reporting requirements, and to establish principles on exchange of information to apply between the flag state and the coastal state.
The pilot project will be evaluated in 2008. In conjunction with experience from the international discussions, this will form the basis
of the final electronic logbook requirements. The Directorate of Fisheries plans to present a draft of the regulations concerning electronic logbooks for fishing activities in the course of 2008. The aim is to permit Norwegian vessels to use the electronic logbook with effect from 2009.
Access to information All data is stored by the Directorate of Fisheries and is only accessible to authorised personnel who are subject to a duty of confidentiality. The main users of the information are the Norwegian Coast Guard and the Directorate of Fisheries. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centres and the Institute of Marine Research also have access to the information in the tracking register.
For further information, please contact the Activity Data Section on telephone 03495.