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England’s marine regulator, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been working to introduce a Vessel Monitoring System for under 12m vessels (iVMS) in English Waters.

The MMO has taken a different approach to Wales and ‘Type Approved’ four devices for use by English fishers. During their roll out of devices, the MMO received feedback to suggest that some devices may not be compliant with the MMO’s Type Approval specification. In response, MMO has undertaken an independent testing process which has now concluded.

As a result of the testing, the MMO has announced that the Type Approval status of Maritime System’s MS44 device has been revoked. This means it cannot be used by English fishers.

Welsh Government has not Type Approved iVMS devices and Welsh fishers may use any iVMS device that complies with the requirements set out in the Welsh iVMS regulations (The Sea Fishing Operations (Monitoring Devices) (Wales) Order 2022) on GOV.UK.

We have considered the MMO’s testing results and it is our opinion that the Maritime Systems MS44 device does not meet the requirements of the Welsh iVMS regulations. It is therefore not suitable for use by Welsh Fishers or any vessel undertaking fishing operations in the Welsh zone.

We are aware that a small number of Welsh fishers have purchased a Maritime Systems MS44 device. Any fisher that is relying on a Maritime Systems iVMS device to comply with the Welsh iVMS Regulations is required to obtain an alternative device prior to undertaking any further fishing operations.

This could be purchased from AST or another iVMS device supplier. Welsh Government currently has a stock of ‘used’ AST iVMS devices. These can be made available to affected fishers but there will be a cost to be paid to AST for refurbishing the device and administering the change of ownership. Any fisher interested in this option should contact AST (Tel: 01603 327 417).

We are unable to provide financial support to affected fishers as free AST iVMS devices were offered to all Welsh fishers prior to the legislation coming into force.