1. Home
  2. About us
  3. Fisheries
  4. Science
  5. Library
  6. Data
  7. Meetings
  8. Contact
  9. Members' Pages LOGIN

Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)

1. Fishing vessels
  • Vessels are required to have onboard functional VMS
  • Vessels report every hour their geographic position, speed, course, etc.
  • Vessels transmit daily catch information directly to their national Fisheries Monitoring Centres (FMC)
  • NAFO Contracting Parties have the responsibility to ensure that the information is transmitted to the Secretariat 

2. Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) The VMS uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) to display the accurate geographic position of the vessel. The satellite monitoring device transmits the information from the vessel(s) to the Fisheries Monitoring Centres (FMCs) of each Contracting Party.

3. Fisheries Monitoring Centres These are the land-based national centres to which registered fishing vessels connect via satellites. The information received by the FMC is then forwarded to NAFO’s Headquarters. 

4. NAFO Headquarters
One of the NAFO Secretariat duties is to collect and maintain VMS data and forward it to the inspection services.

In addition to being an integral part of NAFO’s MCS scheme, the VMS data is also used for scientific purposes, e.g. NAFO’s Significant Adverse Impacts (SAIs) on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs), fish stock assessment.

The VMS may be used for Search and Rescue and maritime safety purposes.

 5. At-sea Inspections & NAFO Inspectors

The NAFO Joint Inspection and Surveillance Scheme is implemented to ensure compliance of NAFO-registered fishing vessels in the NAFO Regulatory Area (NRA). Inspectors are appointed by Contracting Parties and assigned to fishery patrol vessels tasked to carry out NAFO inspection duties.

The real-time access of inspectors to VMS information enables them to determine the exact location of fishing vessels thereby facilitating onboard inspections.

6. Port state measures
The NAFO Measures on Port State Control apply to landings or transshipments in ports of Contracting Parties by fishing vessels flying the flag of another Contracting Party. The provisions apply to landing or transshipment of fish caught in the NAFO Regulatory Area, or fish products originating from such fish, that have not been previously landed or offloaded at a port. These measures allow certain ports to be designated for landing or transshipping of catches made in the northwest Atlantic. Comprehensive port inspections take place with well-trained and up-to-date inspectors. Prior notifications allow ports to be prepared for the fishing vessels arrival in order to conduct the inspection in a timely manner.

Contact us

Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
Summit Place
1601 Lower Water Street 
Suite 401
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3J 3P6

Tel: +1 902 468-5590