Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd
In 2019 I published a consultation on proposals for vessel monitoring requirements for under 12m commercial fishing vessels to build on the statutory requirement already in place for over 12m vessels.
Today I am announcing the coming into force of The Sea Fishing Operations (Monitoring Devices) (Wales) Order 2022. The Order prohibits licensed under-12 metre fishing boats operating in the Welsh zone and under -12 metre Welsh fishing boats wherever they may be, from undertaking fishing operations unless the vessel has an operating vessel monitoring system (VMS). This system will transmit the geographical position, date, time, speed and course of the vessel to the Welsh Ministers, at least once every 10 minutes while undertaking fishing operations.
This will allow us to gain a full and accurate picture of fishing vessel activity in the Welsh zone, and for Welsh registered vessels wherever they may be, to improve fisheries and marine environment management. Data related to the spatial and temporal distribution of fishing effort is fundamental to the effective management of fisheries and the wider marine environment, including Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and Marine Planning. Such data does not currently exist for the under 12 metre fishing fleet which make up ~97% of Welsh registered fishing vessels.
To support the fishing industry with this new requirement, Vessel Monitoring devices have been provided for free to relevant Welsh fishing vessels.