AST Marine Sciences win type approval for the NEW inshore GPRS iVMS device awarded by The Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCA) and the Marine Management Organization (MMO).

The MMO approval programme is sponsored by the IFCA, and AST Marine Sciences is proud to announce its new inshore “Blue Traker” GPRS iVMS monitoring device has been fully approved.  This cost effective monitoring technology is not only an aid to fisheries management but contributes to the conservation of sensitive marine habitats when operating in Marine Protected Areas.

AST Marine Sciences has been providing Intelligent Vessel Monitoring Systems since 2003 when their first dual mode (satellite and GPRS) VMS+ device was launched.  This product is currently in use on ALL the UK fishing fleet vessels (over 12 meters) and the new iVMS product has built on the experience gained from these earlier generations of product.

The new “GPRS only” iVMS device has the same robust IP67 platform and housing but with the addition of remote wireless diagnostics and over the air upgrade capability, reducing the need for support personnel to visit the vessel.

David Davies, Managing Director of AST Marine Sciences said “we have over 12 years’ experience working in the fisheries industry and we have applied our experience and expertise to bring this product to a market that needs to have more than just a ‘black box’ on board, and to provide data that can benefit the inshore sector both in evidencing their sustainable fishing activities and protecting the interests of the fishermen.”

AST Marine Sciences offer 24 x 7 x 365 Global Customer Support, with a fully trained dedicated team in the Network Operations Centre, able to remotely monitor the operational devices and provide personal support to the vessel.  Max Challis, Technical Manager, AST Marine Sciences commented “the inshore fishing fleet is an all year round industry and AST has recognised that our support is an essential part of providing a first class product and must be available ‘round the clock’”.

Whilst the iVMS is necessary on board the inshore fishing fleet vessels to transmit information to the fishing authorities, it also provides the vessel owner and operator with the crucial information to support their fishing activities through a secure web portal, and in the future can be used for Electronic Logbooks.  In addition, it is expected that collating the information will provide important supporting evidence of traditional fishing grounds when new Marine Protected Areas are under consideration.