A VMS is useful for management authorities and fishing vessel operators in several ways:
A VMS can enhance the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of fisheries in a cost-effective manner. Traditional MCS methods, such as aerial and surface patrols, are deployed randomly, or based on assessments of historical vessel activity and third party information. This is an inefficient and expensive use of personnel and equipment, and the coverage of these traditional methods is relatively limited. A VMS continually informs the management authority of the location of each participant in a fishery at all times, at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. The VMS database can also consolidate other information about vessels and operators (e.g. vessel characteristics, contact information, licenses and registries, etc.), making this information available in one convenient location.
VMS can play a range of roles in vessel safety.
Unauthorized fishing likely is deterred. On-board VMS equipment reminds the vessel operator that the management authorities are monitoring the vessel’s activity. This may encourage operators to conform to fisheries regulations, if they believe that enforcement action will result from unauthorized activity that is detected.
The VMS can provide documentation of vessel activity and alleged violations.
The Shipboard equipment - VMS automatically generates position reports from a vessel, which are then validated and compiled at the Fishery monitoring centre - VMS .
The system safeguards the information in a manner that complies with evidence-handling rules and guidelines for potential legal proceedings. The information may be acted upon immediately, or it may be stored for subsequent investigation.
Efficient patrols can be planned using the VMS. The VMS allows fishery agencies to deploy patrol assets effectively. Searching and travel times are reduced because the location of the fishing fleet and individual vessels is known in advance of the patrols.
VMS can assist in conducting effective dockside inspections. The VMS can provide advance notice to fishery inspectors of routine arrivals into port by all fishing vessels, and also provide notification about the arrival of vessels that might be of special interest.
The VMS equipment and service offers affordable and secure communications. The fishery management authority may authorize the use of the VMS unit as a communications device. If the equipment is capable of this function, it may provide relatively cost-effective and secure Information security - VMS communications for many purposes. An example could be the arranging for sale of fish on board the vessel at sea, in advance of landing the fish in port.
A VMS can potentially free certain vessel operators from improper accusations of wrongdoing. A VMS does not decide right or wrong; it simply documents activity. If an activity is authorized under a particular management regime, the VMS will record it as such. The VMS has proven its value in situations where vessel operators have been accused of alleged illegal activity, and the VMS provided information to the contrary.