FAO Home>Fisheries & Aquaculture
FAO of the UN


Icelandic Coast Guard flagIcelandic Coast Guard Directorate of Fisheries flagDirectorate of Fisheries

Fisheries monitored by VMS
All Icelandic fisheries. There are two tracking systems in Iceland. One is mandatory for all vessels and is for safety purposes. The other is for fisheries control, in which certain vessels must participate according to their fishery and fishing area. Fisheries control authorities have full access to all data in both systems.

Number of vessels monitored by VMS

  • Total: 1 608
  • Anglers: 950
  • Multipurpose: 573
  • Stern trawlers: 85

Vessel size range (metres)

  • Anglers: under 10
  • Multipurpose: 10 to 80
  • Stern trawlers: 35 to 105+

Purpose of VMS monitoring

  • Vessel safety
  • Monitor compliance with fisheries regulations of Iceland, international regulations such as NEAFC and NAFO, and in waters of other states where bilateral tracking agreements are in force (i.e. Greenland, Faroe Islands, Norway and Russia).

Tracking technologies

  • Shipboard equipment: Inmarsat-C, VHF coastal repeater system
  • Communications links: Inmarsat-C, X.25, leased lines, Internet HTTPS
  • Control centre applications: Commercial, specially made to fulfil the needs of the Icelandic authorities for control and safety purposes. The control purposes include fishing in domestic waters, NEAFC and NAFO Regulatory Areas and in the waters of Greenland, Faroe Islands, Norway and Russia.

Security measures

  • Shipboard: There are no special security measures for shipboard equipment. This has not been found necessary as the fishermen look at this system as their own security and are more concerned to have the equipment working properly than not.
  • Communications: Either on X.25 with its built-in security, or HTTPS via Internet.
  • Control centre: strict security rules for access, based on NEAFC and NAFO rules.

Legal framework
The rules are based on national legislation for fisheries and maritime communications, and on international agreements (i.e. NEAFC and NAFO).

Funding strategy
All costs for shipboard VMS equipment is the responsibility of the vessel owner/operator. For communications costs in the mandatory tracking system for safety purposes, there is a fixed charge per year. In the fisheries control system, the vessel is billed directly for communications. The costs of communications from the VMS, as well as running and maintaining the VMS/FMC, are carried by the authorities.

Staffing level
The Icelandic VMS is operated by the Icelandic Coast Guard, inside its operation centre which is manned 24 hrs every day of the year. This operation centre, which is also the Coast Guard communication centre and a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), is now being merged with the vessel traffic centre of Iceland. The vessel traffic centre includes the mandatory tracking system for safety purposes and the GMDSS communication system (coastal radio stations). In this new centre, total information concerning maritime traffic will be available. All relevant information from the VMS is available for the Directorate of Fisheries, which is linked into the system.

Additional integrated programmes
Mandatory Tracking System for safety purposes.

Anticipated growth
All Icelandic vessels are in mandatory tracking, so no growth is expected. On the other hand, more stringent requirements for fisheries control purposes could be expected.

Powered by FIGIS