20 Apr 2016

Spot Trace is a device that provides satellite-tracked locations of tagged items, anytime, and anywhere. MDPI, within the scope of the IFITT and NWO Traceability project, have identified Spot Trace to potentially be a very useful tool for verification of fishing ground data, collected by MDPI enumerators when interviewing the fishers for the I-Fish Port Sampling process.

In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy MDPI trialed deployment of 3 Spot Tracer devices for data verification and additionally testing the devices as a safety feature for fishers. The first pilot site for Spot Tracer deployment was Lombok, where two devices were distributed to fishers and one device to a supplier so that the supplier can also monitor the fishing trips of his fishers. There is a confidentiality agreement between the fishers and MDPI, meaning exact locations of fishing grounds will not be revealed.

Spot Tracer deployment was conducted by installing unit holders on a fishing boat. Spot tracer units are battery powered. The location of fishing vessels equipped with a Spot Tracer can be viewed online at the website. Location pings from the Spot Tracer unit can be set every to every 2.5, 5, 10, 30, 60 minutes or 12 hours depending on the refinement of the data needed.

Spot Tracer results of the fishing trip confirmed that the data is in sync with the interviews done by the enumerators.

Based on positive initial results, a larger deployment of spot trace units will be conducted in Lombok, Maluku and Bitung in March 2016.

The function of the Spot Tracer is similar to a typical Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS), just much smaller and cheaper and also less functionality specific to vessels. We however hope it can be a good system to be used on small scale vessels which are currently not required to utilize a VMS.

See below the type of vessel track which the Spot Trace can create:

MDPI enumerators using the I-Fish system use a map with 1°x 1° grid, where they ask fishermen to confirm where they have been fishing.

By using the track data from the Spot Trace system, the I-Fish system can now automatically combine the 2 data sets (I-Fish enumeration and Spot Trace tracking) and in this way verify the fishing ground with more certainty as well as insure that vessels are fishing in areas which they are licensed and authorized to do so.

This is a big step towards ensuring compliance of the vessels participating in MDPI programs and working towards combatting IUU fishing.

Writer: Riza Baroqi

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