The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) sets out new responsibilities for coastal States regarding the use of resources in their exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Those responsibilities, in many cases, establish the need for both economic development and effective control of a country's marine resources, including fisheries. States are committed to the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks, through better management and conservation of fisheries, ecosystem-based approaches such as marine protected areas and reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
New information and new monitoring technologies are potential game changers for fisheries management and can be of help in achieving green growth of the sector. Application of new technologies has allowed governments to collect more data on fish stocks, better monitor, enforce and evaluate the environmental impacts of fisheries activities and improve the effectiveness of policies to sustainably manage fisheries.
To this end, there are many recent technological developments. Such technologies can be collaborative, there for involving more than one stakeholder groups along the value chain or non collaborative which are set up by governments to monitor the fisheries sector. These include the increased computing power of handheld devices;the proliferation of user-friendly Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellites Systems (GNSS) applications; increased capacity for “big data” storage, sharing, and analysis; variety and improved durability of drones and lowmaintenance radar stations; accessibility and accuracy of satellite imagery; continuous improvements in on-board digital cameras and recorders; expanded use of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS), and the internet at sea.
Details of some advanced technological devices in fishing
1. Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS)
VMS was originally a satellite-based system that provided data on the time-stamped location, course and speed of vessels to fisheries authorities at regular intervals (every two hours or 12 times per day).
2. Automatic Identification System (AIS)
AIS is a ship-reporting system based on messages broadcasted by vessels carrying transponders. It was developed primarily as a tool for maritime safety to avoid vessel collision by Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and as a means for coastal states to receive information on vessels operating near their coasts
3. Electronic Logbook or ERS
4. Drones (also named as Un-Manned Vehicle) The growing use of fully or partly unmanned vehicles, or drones, is one of the prominent fields of application of new technology for sustainable fisheries. Drones can be used for fish stock assessments, therefore providing cheaper services than oceanographic vessels.
New technologies will help governments to consider how they can adapt and improve their policies, regulations, their enforcement and compliances. The future of fisheries management will not depend on any single technological innovation. A whole ecosystem of new technologies that complement and communicate with each other will help in shaping the toolbox used by policy makers for fish stock management in most of the countries.