Fisheries Monitoring Centre
After data reports have been sent from a vessel’s Shipboard equipment - VMS and through the communications system, they are transmitted to the end user at the fishery monitoring centre (FMC). The transmission from the Communications systems - VMS typically is conducted over commercial data networks. In the past, VMS programmes used the X.25 communication network exclusively, and VMS programmes currently use either X.25 or the Internet, or both (the X.25 service is being phased out – many countries do not have capabilities now, and others will soon loose that facility).
The positions of fishing vessels can be valuable and sensitive commercial information. Thus, monitoring agencies must make efforts to ensure the physical and operational security of shipboard equipment, communications, and fishery monitoring centres. Security is essential to the fishery managers to ensure that the VMS information is authentic and non-repudiated, of high integrity, and private.
The FMC is a Information security - VMS location where only authorized personnel can access the VMS data. The data are protected from intentional or accidental damage or disclosure.
The FMC collects the data, validates and stores them, and makes the information available for analysis. The data are typically stored in a relational database. The database safeguards the data from alteration or loss. The individual parameters of the data string are expanded into multiple interrelated tables, putting the data into a form suitable for analysis.
The identity and location of VMS units (and by extension, vessels, if the units are known to be installed properly) are presented in a geographical information system, comparing vessel positions with geographical features of interest, such as EEZ or territorial boundaries, closed areas, physical features, etc. The vessels’ activities can be monitored in real time, and they can also be stored for historical analyses.
The FMC typically incorporates an alerting system, whereby individual position reports are compared with database rules. When exception to the rules are identified (e.g. vessel entering a prohibited zone), an alert can be sent to an email address or cellular phone at the management authority.
Links to several manufacturers of VMS control centre applications (Note: FAO provides links to vendors as an educational courtesy to readers, and does not endorse or promote any particular manufacturer):