18 Jul 2006

Enchanced vessel monitoring system now online - says Forum agency

3:28 pm on 18 July 2006

The Forum Fisheries Agency says the recent update of its vessel monitoring system or VMS will provide more effective tools to combat illegal fishing in the region.

The system has been tracking vessels in the region since 1998, and services 17 FFA member countries.

The VMS uses satellite technology to report the location of vessels involved in fishing activity in FFA countries' waters.

The FFA Director Feleti Teo says the new system is essential to the sustainability of tuna stocks in the western and central Pacific Ocean.

The manager of the vessel monitoring system, Keil Hirst, says there has been an increase in demand for its services over the years.

"We currently monitor 1,100 vessels per annum, and there are more and more vessels coming into the region wanting to fish. And the requirements of operations and and the general running of VMS often require more and more frequent data to be sent through the system."

Keil Hirst of the Forum Fisheries Agency.