The fishing industry is turning RFID technology to enhance fisheries management and to cut down on illegal fishing practices. Devon & Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (D&S IFCA) is using RFID to monitor, manage and control the use of recreational lobster pots under new potting permit bylaws.
For the first time, marine officers from D&S IFCA are now able to monitor and record the location of fishing activity by individual recreational fishermen as well as identify and remove any pots that do not have permission to be in the water. The D&S IFCA covers the north and south Devon coast and the Severn areas in the UK.
Fishermen who have been allocated a potting permit are supplied with RFID tags that are securely attached to each pot. Going forward, marine enforcement officers will scan each pot using a hand-held RFID reader to ensure that only those fishermen with permits are operational within their jurisdiction. Any pots without a tag will be removed from the water, significantly reducing illegal fishing practices and improving activities for other fishermen. To date, about 1,000 passive RFID tags have been distributed to 200 lobstermen.
This is the first time that automated RFID technology has been used by a UK inshore authority for bylaw purposes. The technology and RFID tags are being provided by SuccorfishM2M, a company that promotes international commercial fisheries development by using machine-to-machine (M2M) hardware, software and data communication systems.
Tom Rossiter, head of marine operations for SuccorfishM2M, says the solution is viewed as an effective and collaborative way to ensure sustainable fishing practices.
“This is a real, industry-led and cost effective solution that is of mutual benefit to both the fishermen and the marine authorities, and can be easily rolled out to other areas,” he says. “Organizations like Devon and Severn IFCA can [now] successfully implement and monitor fishing activities and deliver sustainable fisheries management.”