Visma Consulting Vessel Monitoring System helps Greenlanders secure their livelihood
With 60,000 residents and 80 percent of the country ice-capped
year round, Greenland depends on fishing for its survival.
Visma Consulting Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) helps
Greenland´s authorities to ensure that fishing quotas are kept. It
is also an important tool for rescue operations in the North
Atlantic and Arctic oceans.
The importance of the fishing industry means the authorities are
serious about monitoring quotas and protecting restricted
With hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of territorial
waters to control, it´s a big job. Mads Nedergaard, head of the
Control & Inspection Unit of Greenland´s Directorate for
Fishing and Hunting, says Visma Consulting vTrack, a web-based VMS,
is "a major tool" in keeping fishermen from trawling in protected
Massive "factory vessels" that catch, process, package and snap
freeze fish and shrimp at sea are "very interested in going to
where the biggest catches are", Nedergaard says. "vTrack helps
ensure they don´t go into restricted waters". "Big vessels can
cause a lot of damage to the sea bed, effectively wiping out local
stocks and removing the livelihood of small coastal fishermen".
Visma Consulting vTrack provides coastal authorities that
monitor fishing zones with real-time vessel positioning information
and allows them to easily exchange the data with the navy,
neighboring countries and international bodies. Recently, vTrack
helped Nedergaard´s team to guide inspection vessels to where a
local boat was poaching shrimp.
"We caught them red-handed", he says. "Without vTrack, in 9 out
of 10 situations, fishermen would have gotten away with it".
The operation netted about EUR 149,000 in fines and other costs,
thus helping vTrack "pay for itself". The system can also benefit
search and rescue operations by informing the navy where wishing
vessels are located.
Monitoring fish stocks
Greenland fishing authorities have complemented vTrack with
Visma Consulting Catch Reporting System (CRS), vCatch,
enabling them to keep exact count of how much of each species
of fish is caught and where. Fishing quotas are determined by
historical figures on catch totals and scientific studies on the
rate of depletion of fish stocks. Without vCatch Greenland would
have trouble preserving its quota levels or selling fishing rights
to other countries, another key source of revenue.
"Both vTrack and vCatch are important means to protect the
livelihood of Greenland fishermen", Nedergaard says.
"But, they don´t always see it that way", he concedes - "For
them it´s a police tool. Nevertheless, most fishermen accept being
a part of the system and have no problem with that".
Martin Panduro Olesen, Team Manager for Visma Consulting in
Denmark, where fishing authorities helped develop vTrack and
vCatch, says: "When most people hear public control, they think
it´s negative. But with no control, soon there´ll be no fish".
Nedergaard says the success of the systems has allowed Greenland to
live up to its international obligations. "That gains us the
credibility we must have to prove we can manage our natural
resources and to stand up and argue for the right quotas", he says.
"If we didn´t have vTrack and vCatch we´d be finished2.
vTrack- A "repeatable solution" from Visma
Countries using vTrack:
- The Netherlands
- Faeroe Islands
- EU Community Fisheries Control Agency
- Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
- US National Oceanic and Atmospheric organization
What it does
vTrack is a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) that arms coastal
authorities with a key enforcement tool to control access to its
territorial waters and prevent illegal fishing. Once an hour a GPS
position is automatically sent from all vessels to a VMS system in
each costal state. The public authority can then look at the
position of all vessels on a GIS interface, both from the office
and onboard patrol vessels. If a vessel enters a restricted area it
triggers an alarm and fishery inspectors can take immediate
International regulations stipulate that all fishing countries
must have a VMS system. The base requirement for a VMS system is
the same in all countries, but national authorities may introduce
additional regulations. vTrack is a repeatable solution that gives
each national authority all the common functionality for a VMS
system. In addition, authorities have the option of adding
functionality to meet specific, enhanced local regulations.
vTrack is a pure web technology that provides coastal
authorities that monitor protected fishing zones through a GIS
interface with unlimited access to real-time vessel positioning
information via satellite, allowing them to readily exchange
key tracking data with the navy, neighboring countries and
international bodies. The GPS positions are recorded by a
transceiver on the vessel and sent through a satellite connection
to a Land Earth Station (LES).
vTrack receives the positions real-time from the LES, passes the
information though a Java component to examine whether an alert
must be raised and stores the position in an Oracle Spatial