Fishery Solution

01. jul 2011 

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization use of vTrack

The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) is a regional fisheries management organization founded in 1979, due to the introduction of 200 miles Exclusive Economic Zones.

The main objective of NAFO is to ensure the long term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources in the convention area, and in doing so, to safeguard the marine ecosystems in which these resources are found.

NAFO has 12 contracting parties: Canada, Iceland, Cuba, Japan, Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Norway, The European Union, The Russian Federation, France (in respect of St. Pierre and Miquelon), Ukraine, and USA.

NAFO has since 2003 made use of VMS to support their objective.  Visma Consulting vTrack was introduced in 2007.

vTrack is primarily used, within NAFO, as an enforcement instrument; however, recently the use of VMS data has expanded to include aiding fisheries managers in their decision making process. NAFO recognizes that better monitoring, leads to better data, which allows for better science; and better science ensures better management of fish stocks.

NAFO uses the vTrack data in their analysis of fishing activities through the following activities:

  • Positions messages are sorted by date and time.
  • Normalized data is flattened to comprise of start and end positions.
  • A mid-point is identified,
  • Data are gridded using GEBCO bathymetry to determine depth at mid-point.
  • Average speed is calculated based on the distance between start and end coordinates, accounting for the shape of the Earth.
  • Target species are assigned for every mid-point based on catch and depth.

Based on the data above NAFO are able to make the necessary analysis with two main focuses:

  • Fisheries Science:
    • Fishing distribution - spatial and temporal
    • Benthic Impact Assessments.
  • Fisheries Management:
    • Compliance
    • Effort Statistics (days present/fishing hours).
    • Fishing footprints.

"Visma Consulting has provided NAFO with VMS services since 1 January 2008. vTrack has proven to be stable, flexible and robust during this time." (NAFO Secretariat, Executive Secretary, Dr. Vladimir Shibanov)