News archive (2015 and earlier)

Archipelago news archive

This section lists older news and articles Archipelago activities, related projects, and sustainable marine resource management initiatives around the world.

June 22, 2015: Electronic monitoring mandatory in selected Commonwealth fisheries

Australian Fisheries Management Authority – Electronic monitoring (e-monitoring) will be mandatory for all full time* boats in the Eastern and Western Tuna and Billfish (ETBF and WTBF) fisheries and the Gillnet Hook and Trap (GHAT) sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) from 1 July 2015. Any full time boats that don’t have an operational e-monitoring system after this time will not be allowed to fish unless they have an on-board observer.

The requirement for e-monitoring is legislated through the Directions for the ETBF, WTBF and SESSF.

E-monitoring is a targeted approach to collecting information on fishing activity, which integrates video, sensors and programmable loggers into a powerful data collection tool. This data will be used to verify fishers’ log books.  Having e-monitoring systems on boats will minimise the need for on-board observers, resulting in cost savings for industry.

AFMA has been rolling out e-monitoring in the GHAT Fishery since late 2014 and in the ETBF and WTBF fisheries over the past few months. The GHAT Fishery has 30 boats operating with e-monitoring equipment on board and 25 boats in the ETBF now have units up and running. AFMA intends to install e-monitoring systems on a total of 75 boats in the ETBF, WTBF and GHAT fisheries.

AFMA is funding the installation of equipment on boats until 30 June, 2015. After this time, the cost of installing the equipment will be met by industry.

AFMA would like to thank fishers, who have had systems installed, for their assistance with the roll-out of e-monitoring. E-monitoring has proven to be a valuable tool in fisheries overseas in helping to verify logbook data, keeping costs down for fishers by replacing the need for human observers and increasing the individual accountability of fishers.  We expect to see these benefits in our domestic fisheries, enabling AFMA and industry to undertake the most effective and efficient management of Commonwealth fisheries to ensure their sustainability.

Archipelago Asia Pacific (AAP), a subsidiary of Archipelago Marine Research, has been contracted in the design and installation of EM and to undertake analysis of the collected footage.

Details of the e-monitoring program are located on the e-monitoring page of AFMA’s website.

For more information, please contact David Power, Manager, Gillnet, Hook and Trap Fishery and Squid Fishery, on 02 6225 5475 or or Trent Timmiss, Senior Manager Tuna and International Fisheries, on 02 6225 5313 or

*The definition of full time is detailed in the Directions for the ETBF, WTBF and SESSF which can be found on the Comlaw website.

[Source: AFMA 2015-06-22]

February 26, 2015: NOAA offers regional EM plans for download

CCTV at seaThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now offers a range of electronic monitoring (EM) plans for download, intended to help expand the use of electronic monitoring and reporting in federal fisheries.

The aim is to help fisheries prevent overfishing by using technology to better monitor fishing activity and accurately report all catch. Each regional office and science center created a framework that describes their ongoing testing and future implementation efforts.

NOAA offers these regional plans to help identify and evaluate promising monitoring technologies and implementation strategies, improve our knowledge of the fisheries, and to empower fishermen and others to become more actively involved in the data collection process.

You can access the individual regional plans from the NOAA Fisheries site.

January 27, 2015: Archipelago refines at-sea fisheries monitoring with EM Observe v5

VICTORIA, BC – Archipelago Marine Research has introduced its next generation of fisheries monitoring technology: the EM Observe™ v5 electronic monitoring system. Refined from years of experience working with fishermen and commercial fisheries around the world, EM Observe v5 is designed to provide a practical, cost–effective alternative for monitoring and managing fishing activity at sea.

EM Observe v5A compact control center automatically detects fishing activity and then logs fishing times and locations alongside relevant video footage from up to eight weather–resistant digital cameras. On the bridge, a display screen provides real–time views overlooking key locations and activities including hauling, sorting, discarding, and processing procedures.

To ensure reliable operation and data integrity, a built–in battery backup helps the system “ride through” power interruptions, while an advanced encryption feature ensures data logs stay secure.

Once the vessel returns to port, the data is retrieved, and can then be reviewed using the EM Interpret™ data review software. EM Interpret streamlines the review process, transforming weeks or even months of sensor and video data into a clear and accurate assessment of key fishing activities.

Since introducing its EM technology more than a dozen years ago, Archipelago has deployed more than 600 systems around the world, recording more than 40,000 sea days each year.

Archipelago monitoring programs and technology are widely used and trusted by fisheries throughout North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific to help verify catch records, reduce bycatch, and support sustainable seafood initiatives. To learn more, visit the Electronic Monitoring section.

January 12, 2015: BC's trawl fisheries recognized for conservation achievements

David Suzuki Foundation – “Seafood assessments are usually released to little fanfare, but today ‘s assessment should be heralded as a significant milestone for Canada’s Pacific groundfish fisheries. For nearly 150 years commercial groundfish fisheries off B.C.’s coast have targeted species such as halibut, lingcod, soles, flounders, Pacific cod and rockfish. The fishery has gone through periods of exploration, over-exploitation, stability and boom-and-bust. Now, it is honing in on sustainability…” (full story)


January 5, 2015: Electronic monitoring roll out for Australian fisheries

Australian Fisheries Management Authority – The roll out of new electronic monitoring equipment has begun for vessels within the Gillnet Hook and Trap (GHAT) and the Eastern and Western Tuna and Billfish fisheries (ETBF and WTBF).

E-monitoring will assist AFMA to ensure the best possible fisheries management by enabling greater insight into Australia’s fishing operations.

New installations have already started for boats in the GHAT with all existing systems being updated to the new high definition systems. Installation of e-monitoring systems will begin for boats within the ETBF and WTBF at the start of 2015.

E-monitoring is a targeted approach to collecting information on fishing activity, which integrates video, sensors and programmable loggers into a powerful data collection tool. This expansion in e-monitoring capabilities will enable AFMA and industry to undertake the most effective and efficient management of Commonwealth fisheries to ensure their sustainability.

AFMA has contracted Archipelago Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of Archipelago Marine Research, to assist in the design and installation of e-monitoring systems…Archipelago Asia Pacific can be contacted on 02 6162 1192.

[Source: AFMA media release/posting 2015-01-05]

September 3, 2014: Nearly two dozen fish species off U.S. West Coast deemed sustainable

(Reuters) – Nearly two dozen species of fish have been deemed sustainable seafood options once again after rampant overfishing left areas off the U.S. West Coast devastated, a marine watchdog group said on Tuesday. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program has upgraded the status of 21 species of bottom-dwelling fish, including varieties of sole, rockfish and sablefish, to “best choice” or “good alternative” from the group’s “avoid” classification… “The turnaround in such a short time is unprecedented,” said Jennifer Kemmerly, director of the Seafood Watch program. “Fishermen, federal agencies and our environmental colleagues have put so much effort into groundfish recovery, and now we’re seeing the results of their work…”

Continue reading…

June 17, 2014: Australian fisheries to equip vessels with electronic monitoring technology

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority has selected Archipelago Marine Research to provide end-to-end electronic monitoring services and equipment for selected Commonwealth fisheries around Australia. Archipelago will oversee this project through its new Australian–based subsidiary: Archipelago Asia Pacific.

As part of the initial three-year project, the company will equip participating vessels in three fishing fleets with Archipelago® EM Observe™ monitoring systems. The EM Observe technology automatically collects and integrates sensor, video, and GPS data to create an integrated record of relevant fishing activity at sea. Similar projects undertaken by the company have helped fisheries and industry regulators around the world to verify logbooks, manage quotas, improve traceability, reduce bycatch, minimize discards, manage protected areas, and control monitoring costs.

Throughout the project, Archipelago will supply, install, and maintain the electronic monitoring hardware and software; oversee the collection and management of data logs; and help to condense the thousands of hours of varied data sources into meaningful, searchable activity reports. According to Andrew Fedoruk, Archipelago operations manager for the Asia Pacific region, EM technicians and marine biologists will work closely with AFMA and fisheries representatives, onboard observers, vessel captains and crew to deliver an efficient and cost-effective monitoring program.

With an international portfolio spanning North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Archipelago monitors a full range of fisheries and gear types, and helps manage fisheries resources throughout some of the world’s most challenging climates and conditions, from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean and beyond. For more information on Archipelago Asia Pacific, visit

May 20, 2014: Doing it for the halibut: how a discard ban saved my fishery

Environmental Defense Fund – Fisherman Wes Erikson shares his experiences fishing under strict Canadian discard legislation to demonstrate how the Common Fisheries Policy landing obligation can result in sustainably managed and economically viable European fisheries…

Continue reading…

April 2, 2014: Archipelago appoints Peter Ciceri to Board of Directors
Peter Ciceri

Peter Ciceri

VICTORIA BC – Archipelago Marine Research, a provider of sustainable marine–resource management products and services, has appointed Peter Ciceri as Chair to the Board of Directors. Ciceri has accepted the role in place of Eric Jordan, who having served the Board since 2009, recently stepped down to focus on his new venture as CEO of DJArts Games—an indie game studio based in Victoria.

A successful CEO, corporate director, and international executive, Peter Ciceri currently operates a private practice as a CEO coach, advisor and counselor. Previously Ciceri was President & CEO of Custom House Global Payments, and before that President & Managing Director of Compaq Canada where he engineered the merger and integration of Digital Equipment, Tandem, and Compaq into a single $1.7B company—Canada’s largest tech merger at that time. Ciceri has been recognized by the Financial Post’s Report on Business as one of “Canada’s top 100 Business Elite,” and by the University of Victoria as Alumni of the Year for Business Achievement in 2000. An authority on Asia Pacific business with Unisys, HP and Compaq, Ciceri has worked in over thirty countries, and his corporate board experience includes Chairman of Sierra Wireless, as well as the University of Victoria Board of Governors, the BC Premier’s Technology Council, and MDSI Systems.

In a statement to the Board of Directors, Archipelago CEO Shawn Stebbins welcomed Peter Ciceri, and on behalf of the team at Archipelago, expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Eric Jordan for his five years of service to the company.

Archipelago Marine Research is an industry pioneer and world leader in electronic monitoring (EM) products and services for commercial fisheries. Working closely with fisheries, researchers, and industry regulators, the company employs human observers (at sea-and dockside) and electronic CCTV-based technology to help fisheries accurately account for all catch—including fish discarded at sea—and help fishermen verify quotas, eliminate waste, and encourage selective fishing practices. Since introducing its EM technology more than a decade ago, Archipelago has deployed more than 600 EM systems around the world, recording more than 40,000 sea days each year.

With an international portfolio spanning North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Archipelago monitors a full range of fisheries and gear types, and helps manage fisheries resources throughout some of the world’s most challenging climates and conditions, from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean and beyond.

March 21, 2014: Alaska longliners pitch for electronic monitoring
Jason Bryan, Archipelago project manager

Photo: Sitka Sentinel

Sitka Sentinel – A group of Sitka and Homer longliners hope to demonstrate this season that electronic monitoring can collect most of the data needed for managing the hook and line fisheries. The pilot project is part of an ongoing effort by the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and other longline groups to integrate electronic monitoring as an alternative to having observers aboard boats that longline for sablefish and halibut.

“We want to see EM move ahead,” said Linda Behnken, ALFA executive director. “There have been over 40 EM pilot programs in the U.S. but no programs have been implemented for catch monitoring.” The feedback so far from the five Sitka longliners with EM systems aboard has been positive…

Continue reading…

February 10, 2014: 18th Western Groundfish Conference in Victoria BC

VICTORIA BC – Archipelago Marine Research will co-host the 2014 Western Groundfish Conference from February 10-14, 2014 at the Harbour Towers Hotel and Suites in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. Western Groundfish Conference

The Western Groundfish Conference is a meeting of marine scientists and professionals in related erence represent state and national fisheries resource agencies, universities, NGOs, and stakeholder groups. It’s the only meeting of its kind on the West Coast and provides excellent opportunities for scientists and students to interact with colleagues and present research in the fields of groundfish biology, assessment, conservation and management.


January 16, 2014: US fisheries stakeholders take a hard look at electronic monitoring

SEAFOOD.COM News – About 160 people came together January 8th-9th in Seattle to look into the potential for improved catch monitoring and increased accountability as this period of tight federal budgets–along with the rising costs of human observers–have combined to make electronic reporting (ER) and electronic monitoring (EM) high-priority issues in federal fisheries policy. The “National Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Workshop” was supported by a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), with matching funds provided by EDF.

Continue reading…

Visit the 2014 National Workshop EM Information site…

December 2, 2013: Electronic fish data monitoring considered

Star News Online The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is weighing the pros and cons of transitioning to an electronic monitoring system for federally managed fisheries, according to a presentation given Monday at a meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council at the Hilton Riverside in Wilmington.

“There have been people looking at this for a while,” said George Lapointe, an independent consultant and former commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. “The project goal is to evaluate emerging technologies for us in fishery-dependent data collections.”

Monitoring, which provides officials with compliance data and species information, is a key part of the fishery management process, designed to keep fish populations at sustainable levels by preventing overfishing…

Continue reading…

November 1, 2013: Monitoring with an eye towards cost-effectiveness in the Pacific groundfish fishery

Environmental Defense Fund – In the Pacific, electronic monitoring (EM) research is currently focused on individual accountability of both catch and bycatch in the trawl catch share fishery. Since 2011, vessels in this fishery have been required to carry an onboard observer…

The West Coast Groundfish monitoring program is working well, but its high costs could push some of the smaller vessels out of the fishery, especially those that operate out of remote locations where it is difficult to deploy fisheries observers…

Continue reading…

September 27, 2013: Effective monitoring is critical for the New England groundfish fishery

Environmental Defence Fund – Collecting timely, accurate and complete information from fishing vessels is fundamental to successful fisheries management…EDF continues to work to improve the performance of New England groundfish sectors by supporting the design and implementation of a cost-effective and comprehensive monitoring program that incorporates the use of electronic monitoring (EM)…

Continue reading…

June 18, 2013: Fishermen demonstrate almost zero discards in latest MMO trial

Marine Management Organisation (news release) Discards – where fish are thrown away at sea – have been virtually eliminated by fishermen taking part in current trials, according to the latest catch quota report from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The report shows discards of important stocks such as sole, cod, plaice, megrim and anglerfish have been drastically reduced in the trials carried out by the MMO through 2012 with North Sea and West Channel fishermen.

This year’s trials have increased both the number of vessels and the number of species involved since beginning in 2011.

The MMO is operating the trials on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as part of the UK’s initiative to tackle the problem of discarding fish – where fish are thrown away at sea if they are too small or there is no quota left for a particular species.

The MMO’s report details how the practice could be an alternative method of managing fisheries, at a time when the Common Fisheries Policy is undergoing reform. The trials encourage fishermen to fish more selectively and land all of what they catch. Participating vessels were provided with additional quota that amounted to three quarters of the amount typically discarded in these fisheries.

Seven vessels took part in the trials in the South West along with twelve in the North Sea. The boats were not permitted to discard any of the species in the trials, including those below the minimum size. They had to land all of the fish of these species that they caught so they all counted against their quota. Data from onboard monitoring equipment, including CCTV cameras, was used to check the conditions of the trial were adhered to.

Catches of undersized fish in the trial were also low, suggesting that boats are fishing more selectively.

James Cross, Chief Executive of the MMO, said: “This is really good news for all those interested in a long-term, sustainable future for our fishing industry. By working with fishermen to develop innovative solutions, we hope to reduce waste of our marine resources while increasing healthy seas and fish stocks for the future.”

“The excellent results of the latest trials show how important working together can be for finding alternative ways of managing fisheries.”

Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon said: “I am delighted that these results show that the UK continues to lead the way in Europe in trialling schemes which tackle discards through managing fisheries by what is caught, not what is landed. I am keen for these trials to be rolled out to other fisheries in advance of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

“Discarding perfectly good fish is a waste of our natural resources. My aim is to create sustainable fisheries around the UK which are good for the environment and for fishermen at the same time.”

Andrew Pillar, Fleet Manager at Interfish based in Plymouth, has three vessels in the trial. He said: “It’s important that these trials have involved fishermen from the start to see how practical measures can improve selectivity and reduce discards. We want to continue testing this concept with more species to see if it can make a long-term difference.”

View the report at the MMO web site.

June 7, 2013: How collaboration and big data are moving fisheries forward

Clinton Global Initiative – In 2011, Darden announced a commitment to support three Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. FIPs are designed to make sustainable, positive changes for the environment, the fisheries, and the people whose livelihoods depend on ocean production…Archipelago recently provided a detailed analysis of the data for the various stakeholders engaged in the research effort…

Continue reading…

May 20, 2013: Mote receives grant to bring electronic monitoring of fisheries to Gulf

Mote Marine Laboratory has received a $150,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to establish the first center for electronic monitoring of commercial fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico — a first step toward gathering more scientifically sound data to inform fisheries management Gulf-wide.

The grant, one of 15 awarded this year from NFWF’s Fisheries Innovation Fund, is being matched by private donations of funding and in-kind support, for a total of $271,435 that will be shared by Mote and project partners at the Ocean Conservancy, Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance and East West Technical Services LLC.

Funds will allow Mote and its partners to work with commercial vessels to document their fishing activity with new electronic monitoring systems, which include digital video cameras, onboard computers, GPS and other technology.

The new monitoring effort will focus on reef fisheries important to Gulf economies, particularly on improving information about bycatch — unintentional catch that may include protected, sensitive or young marine life not ready for harvest. Project partners hope to expand these efforts over the long-term to include electronic monitoring Gulf wide, with consistent data analysis based at Mote.

The Gulf is home to 42 species of groupers, snappers, tilefish and other reef fishes, including many seafood species vital to Gulf economies and several considered by resource managers to be overfished or that are restricted or prohibited from being caught. To monitor fisheries harvests, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) requires commercial fishing vessels in the Gulf to self-report their fishing in logbooks. In addition, some vessels in the reef fishery choose to host federally certified observers who collect more detailed data about a vessel’s catch and bycatch.

The current systems are vital, but logbooks cannot provide the level of detailed and consistent data that is ideal for fisheries management and it would not be financially affordable to have trained observers on all fishing vessels in the Gulf. In addition, it can be difficult or impossible for trained observers to document all bycatch before it is returned to sea, especially when multiple longlines are hauled in at once.

“Electronic monitoring can help us address some of the greatest challenges in documenting Gulf fisheries, complementing monitoring efforts already in place,” said Dr. Ken Leber, associate vice president of the Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture at Mote. “For example, digital cameras can be placed in several spots at once and create a video record of the catch and bycatch, which scientists can later analyze in detail. This kind of data retrieval system is relatively inexpensive and it can be scaled up to suit monitoring needs throughout the Gulf.”

The Ocean Conservancy led the first study of electronic monitoring in the Gulf in 2011 with Mote and the same project partners to find out if using these tools could be effective for fisheries monitoring and management. That study showed that electronic monitoring worked well aboard longline and bandit (vertical line) vessels fishing for snapper and grouper, and study partners decided to shift leadership of the project to Mote, an  independent marine research laboratory.

“I am thrilled to continue this important work with Mote as they take the lead in developing and expanding electronic fishery monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Elizabeth Fetherston, Deputy Director of the Ocean Conservancy’s Fish Conservation Program. “This is a cost-effective and industry-supported program, and Mote Marine Lab is the perfect entity to provide the essential link between fishery data collected at sea and the managers and scientists who use it.”

Mote scientists study economically important fish species in Florida and beyond, often working in close collaboration with recreational and commercial fishers. For example, Mote scientists have worked with about 220 bait and tackle shops and numerous anglers serving as “citizen scientists” to gather samples of tarpon DNA in a collaborative study with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission geared toward understanding the movements of this important sport fish.

“Without the involvement of the fishing community, none of these studies would be possible,” said Carole Neidig, staff scientist at Mote. “What it boils down to is that, if we have the monitoring in place to support proper fishing practices, there’ll be more fish in the future.”

The new phase of the study will launch this summer when new electronic monitoring equipment is installed on seven commercial longline vessels based in Southwest Florida. Scientists will provide each vessel with training and equipment, including up to four closed-circuit video cameras that will operate during fishing, gear sensors to detect fishing activity, a GPS to help detect where fish are caught and a monitor and computer control center with a portable hard drive that will later be returned to Mote for data analysis.

This electronic monitoring technology was provided by project partner Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., which designs electronic monitoring systems and programs for fisheries, nongovernmental organizations, and industry regulators throughout North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific regions. According to Archipelago project manager Adam Batty, the EM Observe™ technology deployed on participating vessels has significantly improved the quantity and quality of fishing-activity data available for review. “With a reliable monitoring system in place, the next step is to develop the local data-management and review capacity for the Gulf,” said Batty. “Working closely with the fishers, our partners at Mote, and the full project team, we can help to create a solid foundation for a scalable, locally managed fisheries-monitoring program.”

Results from the Gulf project will help resource managers document which fish species are being caught in particular locations, which species are caught as bycatch, and where and when fishing vessels encounter protected species. Results will be shared with participating fishers to support sustainable and responsible fishing practices.

“By choosing to participate in this project, commercial vessels are helping gather new knowledge that ultimately benefits the reef fish as well as the fishing fleet — this kind of innovation and stewardship is important to us at The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders Alliance,” said project partner Tj Tate, Executive Director of the Alliance, a nonprofit trade association whose goal is to support a sustainable and accountable reef fishing industry. “We look forward to continuing the important work of electronic monitoring and conservation efforts in the Gulf, and the leadership and partnership role of Mote assures us that the our monitoring will meet all project goals while bringing skill and management capabilities. We are honored to be a part of such groundbreaking work and such an exceptional team.”

February 26, 2013: CCTV trial keeps an eye on fishermen

February 25, 2013: Can new technology save fish?

BBC News – EU’s fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki has told BBC News that the hoped-for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy could not happen unless fishermen harnessed new technology: smart nets and CCTV monitoring systems.

“…CCTV cameras trialed in the UK are said to have cut cod discards from 38% to just 0.2%. Fishermen on the trial are obliged to land all the cod they catch, whatever the size. They have been rewarded with increased quotas and permitted extra days at sea. Ms Damanaki says cameras will be essential – especially for the biggest boats – if the EU adopts a policy of zero fish discards…”

Continue reading (with video)…

February 08, 2013: Archipelago – dedicated to sustainable fisheries

VIATEC – In the first of a series of articles dedicated to Victoria success stories in the technology sector, MaryLou Wakefield profiles Archipelago Marine Research.

The Archipelago Marine Research offices sit on the waterfront overlooking West Bay Marina with the Straits of Juan de Fuca in the distance. The location is one of the many perks of working in Victoria, and particularly fitting for a company that’s passionate about sustainable marine resource management. Established in 1978, Archipelago is BC’s largest provider of at-sea and dockside monitoring systems for commercial fisheries. Archipelago develops electronic monitoring (EM) programs, services, and systems for observing, recording, and reviewing fishing activity at sea, including quota-management efforts, protected-species interactions, and by-catch mitigation strategies…

Continue reading…

January 10, 2013: Sustainability from the fisher’s perspective

International Seafood Sustainability Foundation – The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) spoke with Wes Erikson from British Columbia for a fisherman’s perspective on sustainability and how attitudes can easily shift.


January 01, 2013: 100% observer coverage for purse seiners

ISSF – As a condition of their participation in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), all ISSF-participating companies have agreed to comply with a series of conservation measures, including the requirement—effective January 1st, 2013—to provide 100% observer coverage (human or electronic) on all participating purse seiners.

To help participants learn more about the electronic monitoring tools and their usage (including CCTV cameras), ISSF has developed a technical paper: Guidance on Electronic Monitoring for Observer Programs to Comply with ISSF Commitments. This paper provides further guidance on the key elements of an effective electronic monitoring (EM) program, based on a recent series of EM tests aboard three purse seiners over eight trips.
November 30, 2012: Fishermen demonstrate almost zero discards in latest MMO trial

Marine Management Organisation – Discards have been virtually eliminated by fishermen taking part in current trials, according to the latest catch quota report from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The report shows discards of important stocks such as sole, cod, plaice, megrim and anglerfish have been drastically reduced in the trials carried out by the MMO through 2012 with North Sea and West Channel fishermen.

Read the report at


October 23, 2012: EM update supports digital imagery, data encryption, fish measurement, and more…

VICTORIA, BC – Archipelago Marine Research has introduced some significant advancements in electronic monitoring technology to help commercial fisheries more effectively monitor fishing activity at sea. The new features—including support for high-quality digital imagery; secure encryption, storage, and decryption of data records; and a brand new capability for determining fish length from video footage—will be available to Archipelago customers as product updates to the company’s EM Observe™ electronic monitoring system, EM Record™ data logging software, and EM Interpret™ data analysis software.

To support larger fishing vessels with distributed hauling and processing areas, the EM Observe v4.5 control centre can now support a combination of up to eight analogue and digital cameras. New for this version, the digital video cameras can deliver up to three times better image density than traditional analogue cameras, making them a versatile choice for challenging locations.

To maximize security, all fishing data collected by EM Record can now be securely and automatically encrypted to help provide a more robust chain of custody for sensitive fishery information.

In addition to support for digital cameras and encryption, the EM Record v3.2 data logging software installed on the control centre provides wheelhouse crew with an overview of all fishing activity with simultaneous video coverage from up to eight digital and analogue cameras. A new high-contrast user interface enhances visibility in a range of lighting conditions.

Using the EM Interpret Pro v2.1 data analysis software, an authorized reviewer can decrypt the securely stored fishing-activity data, navigate video footage with a range of new viewing features, and use the software’s new query feature to even more efficiently sort and manage annotations. While viewing video records in EM Interpret, a reviewer can now use the new Length Measurement tool to measure and record individual fish lengths. Also new for version 2.1, EM Interpret now uses a single, standard installer platform that can then be customized with a unique configuration profile for each fishery.

Designed to accommodate a wide range of fishing gear types and vessel sizes, Archipelago technology offers enhanced performance, increased reliability, simpler operation, and greater capacity to support a range of sustainable fisheries programs as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

EM Observe v4.5, EM Record v3.2, and EM Interpret v2.1 are available now from Archipelago Marine Research Ltd.

October 13, 2012: Electronic monitoring: moving forward (ISSF)

International Seafood Sustainability Foundation – Since 2011 Archipelago Marine Research has been conducting electronic monitoring tests on purse seiners in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans as part of the ISSF BycatchProject. Howard McElderry of Archipelago presented the results to date at the Seafood Summit in Hong Kong held in September. Electronic monitoring holds a lot of promise as an incorruptible way to observe fishing activity on large purse seiners and as a cost effective way to have consistent monitoring on smaller vessels.

ISSF’s Mike Crispino interviewed Howard McElderry and recorded their discussion in a new video.


Autumn 2012: Counting fish: testing shipboard video monitoring
Coastwatch – The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is working to collect sufficient information on the snapper grouper fishery in the region to set and update fishing regulations. “We just don’t have the resources to have an accurate picture of what’s actually happening on the water,” acknowledges Brian Cheuvront, the council’s fisheries economist. “Having more accurate estimates of catch and bycatch could actually help fishermen in the long run”…

Enter electronic video monitoring, or EM. “EM has the potential to improve the existing knowledge of the snapper grouper complex since it records not only fish that are landed, but also species that are released due to regulations or because they do not have marketable value,” explains Jack McGovern, project monitor and NOAA fisheries biologist.

Continue reading…

July 27, 2012: High-tech observer trials keep an eye on fishing

International Seafood Sustainability Foundation In November of 2011, the purse seine vessel Playa de Bakio, part of the fleet owned by Spanish based company PEVASA, became the first tropical tuna vessel in the world to test the latest EM technology for monitoring fishing activity at sea. Mike Crispino reports on this high-profile research project.

More at

July 7, 2012: CCTV considered to stop fish dumping

Channel 3 News – New Zealand The Government is investigating the use of CCTV cameras on deep-sea fishing vessels to help prevent fish dumping and abuse of crew. Cameras have already been trialled on cod fishing ships in Britain’s North Sea. Now it’s likely ships working in New Zealand waters will also be subjected to round-the-clock scrutiny. Last month, 3 News exposed evidence of wasteful fishing practices in our own backyard. Two Korean officers were subsequently charged with fish dumping and failing to report that they had caught a protected basking shark off Christchurch’s Merno Bank. “One of the biggest problems we see holding the industry back is the veil of secrecy and the lack of transparency that prevails throughout the industry,” says Glenn Simmons of the University of Auckland Business School.

Continue reading…

June 25, 2012: CCTV monitoring keeps an eye on anything fishy

Channel 4 News – Archipelago technology is helping North Sea fisheries reduce discards from trawlers at sea. Channel 4’s Tom Clarke reports:

CCTV News Clip

Continue reading (with video)…

June 11, 2012: Archipelago introduces its next generation of products for monitoring fishing activity at sea

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Archipelago Marine Research now offers its next generation of products for monitoring commercial fishing activity at sea: the EM Observe™ electronic monitoring system, EM Record™ data logging software, and EM Interpret™ data analysis software. Designed to work together as part of a full fishery monitoring solution, Archipelago’s new technology provides fisheries with a convenient and cost-effective way to monitor, record, and evaluate fishing activity.

Building on more than a dozen years of research and development in electronic monitoring (EM) technology, the EM Observe monitoring system uses an array of CCTV video cameras, sensors, and a GPS receiver to automatically monitor key fishing activities such as fishing times, locations, catch, and discards. While providing wheelhouse crew with a real-time view of all fishing activities on deck, Archipelago’s EM Record™ software manages and logs this data as a comprehensive, integrated record of all relevant fishing activity during that trip. A satellite modem option is available to provide hourly fishing activity summaries and system health updates to program management anywhere in the world. Once the vessel returns to port, this data can be reviewed, evaluated, and annotated with Archipelago’s EM Interpret™ data analysis software to help fisheries staff better understand and manage their fishing activity.

Designed to accommodate a wide range of fishing gear types and vessel sizes, Archipelago’s new generation of monitoring technology offers enhanced performance, increased reliability, simpler operation, and greater capacity to support a range of sustainable fisheries programs as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

From at-sea recording and data management to post-trip review and analysis, Archipelago’s EM products provide the integrated, end-to-end toolchain that makes it simpler than ever to transform weeks of sensor, video, and GPS data into useful, relevant fishing-activity information.

EM Observe, EM Record, and EM Interpret are available now from Archipelago Marine Research Ltd.

April 10, 2012: Fisheries minister hails success of catch quota trials

BusinessGreen – Plans to stop fishermen from discarding dead cod and sole have taken a major step forward, after a Defra-backed trial found surveillance cameras on boats could help enforce catch quotas and discard bans.

The government’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has today published the results of a year-long pilot, sponsored by Defra, in which [Archipelago] CCTV cameras were placed on 15 vessels to monitor discarding activity.

On average, North Sea cod trawlers discarded 38 per cent of their catch in 2010, and Western Channel sole beam trawlers discarded 28 per cent of fish – a scenario that was highlighted by last year’s high profile Fish Fight campaign for a new EU-wide ban on discards.

But the fishermen involved in the trial discarded just 0.2 per cent of the cod and sole they caught. The boats were not permitted to discard any West Channel sole or North Sea cod, including those below the minimum size. They had to land all of the fish of these species that they caught so they all counted against their quota. Once the quota was used up they had to stop fishing completely.

Participating fishermen also drastically reduced discards of undersized fish of all species to between 0 and 3 per cent of their total catch.

Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon is now expected to use the findings at a meeting in Brussels this month to make the case for an EU-wide discard ban as part of a raft of changes to the European common fisheries policy (CFP).

Continue reading…

March 22, 2012: French tuna vessel to host fishery researchers and electronic monitoring during cruise in Indian Ocean

Victoria, Seychelles (March 22, 2012) – /ISSF News/ – A French purse seiner will carry a team of researchers and the most advanced electronic monitoring technology when it shoves off from port in the Indian Ocean next week, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) announced today. The cruise is the latest installment in a global #BycatchProject designed to test and experiment new technologies and techniques for reducing non-targeted catch in large-scale purse seine fisheries using floating objects that attract fish, called FADs.

The Torre Giulia, owned by French group CFTO, will spend 6 weeks in the Indian Ocean with 3 research scientists onboard. The team will work alongside the vessel’s crew, developing an underwater census to determine the species composition and abundance of species under FADs, studying the natural behavior of fish around FADs, and testing techniques to attract sharks and other bycatch away from FADs.

Dr. Laurent Dagorn, a Senior Scientist at Institut de Recherche pour Le Développement (IRD) and Chair of the ISSF Bycatch Project Steering Committee will supervise researchers Patrice Dewals (IRD), Fabien Forget (Rhodes University/SAIAB/IRD) and John Filmalter (Rhodes University/SAIAB/IRD).

“A working purse seine vessel provides the perfect setting for studying bycatch mitigation techniques by putting ideas and theories into practice, which will hopefully result in positive outcomes,” said Dr. Laurent Dagorn. “It is essential that we actively pass along lessons learned to skippers, conservationists, governments, and anyone else who has influence within the fishing industry.”

This cruise is a joint scientific effort between the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and the European-funded project Mitigating ADverse Ecological impacts of open ocean fisheries (MADE). Lessons learned from the #BycatchProject are analyzed by scientists and ultimately passed along to the fishing community in an ongoing series of workshops held by ISSF around the world.

The Torre Giulia will be the second purse seine tuna vessel in the world to employ an electronic video monitoring system, designed for instances where an onboard human observer is not a practical, or safe, option, or to supplement human observers. Experts from Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., will outfit the vessel with an array of sensors to monitor key fishing gear, and trigger the video cameras when it detects fishing activity. An onboard control center manages the system and logs the data, along with vessel location, speed, and heading information provided by the system’s GPS receiver. Throughout the trip, the system also delivers hourly updates via satellite, reporting vessel position, fishing activity, and other relevant information. Once the vessel returns to port, any portion of the logged data can be reviewed to help evaluate fishing activity.

March 20, 2012: Fish tracker goes international: Victoria firm's system helps record fisheries in pirate-occupied waters

Victoria Times-Colonist – High-tech “electronic eyes” designed by a Victoria company are being installed today for testing on a tuna boat moored in the Seychelles but heading out shortly to the pirate-plagued Indian Ocean.

The video-based electronic monitoring system, designed by Archipelago Marine Research, of Head Street, has been used for seven years to monitor fisheries on B.C.’s groundfish fleet. Now it’s starting to make waves internationally with tests in areas too dangerous for human observers…

Read more at the Victoria Times Colonist

February 15, 2012: Electronic eyes monitor tuna fishing In Atlantic Ocean

ABIDJAN, Cote d’Ivoire (February 15, 2012) – /PRNewswire/ – A Spanish purse seiner is the first tropical tuna vessel in the world to test the latest in electronic monitoring technology, designed for instances where an onboard human observer is not a practical, or safe, option, or to supplement human observers. The observation of fishing activities provides validation of critical catch and operational data, integral to scientific analyses and market transparency.

Experts from Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., working on behalf of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), outfitted the vessel with a video-based electronic monitoring system. The system uses an array of sensors to monitor key fishing gear, and trigger the video cameras when it detects fishing activity. An onboard control centre manages the system and logs the data, along with vessel location, speed, and heading information provided by the system’s GPS receiver. Throughout the trip, the system also delivers hourly updates via satellite, reporting vessel position, fishing activity, and other relevant information. Once the vessel returns to port, any portion of the logged data can be reviewed to help evaluate fishing activity.

“Monitoring is at the center of a sustainable fishery and this project, along with cooperation from the fishing industry, will help us understand how electronic equipment can be put to work in the real world,” ISSF President Susan Jackson said. “We are convinced of this technology’s potential to help fill a void of transparency in the supply chain.”

Continue reading…

January 27, 2012: Archipelago named 2012 Technology Business of the Year

VICTORIA BCArchipelago Marine Research was named “Technology Business of the Year” at the 12th annual Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort.

The title was awarded based in part on Archipelago’s development and innovation in electronic monitoring technology for fisheries, the company’s ongoing efforts to foster sustainable marine resource-management practices throughout BC and around the world, and on a local level, the commitment by Archipelago employees to achieve a sustainable balance within the workplace and the community.

Archipelago was among 17 award winners, chosen from a record 450 nominations for this year’s event. The Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards event was sponsored by RBC Royal Bank, Hayes Stewart Little Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC

January 11, 2012: NOAA and partners complete epic Southeast Alaska ShoreZone coastal mapping project

Juneau, AK—People around the world can now get an eagle’s-eye view of all of Southeast Alaska’s shoreline without leaving home, now that the award-winning ShoreZone project has been completed for the entire coastline from Dixon Entrance to Yakutat.

NOAA and other members of the ShoreZone Partnership will make a presentation on the recently completed seven-year project January 19 at the 2012 Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage.

About 30,000 kilometers (19,000 miles) of coastal habitat were mapped during the project—a milestone equivalent to surveying the entire Pacific coastline of Washington, Oregon, and California, twice. The habitat mapping effort followed ShoreZone protocols that have been applied throughout British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and the remainder of the Gulf of Alaska. The 30,000 km of Southeast Alaska data has been added to the larger statewide ShoreZone dataset.

The project also marks the first time Southeast Alaska’s entire coast has been mapped at the lowest tides of each year.

“One of the amazing aspects of this project is that the entire shoreline is imaged at low tide, which took a lot of planning,” said Dr. John Harper, project manager for Coastal & Ocean Resources, a partner and the primary contractor for the project. “Only some of the images on Google Earth have been collected at low tide. So this is the first time we are able to see the entire intertidal zone.”

The Alexander Archipelago or Alaska’s panhandle is known for its myriad of well over 1,000 islands and represents almost 40 percent of Alaska’s coastline. Imagery was collected during 20 separate summer surveys since 2004. The Alaska data and imagery—including over one million video captures and 178,000 high-resolution photographs—are all available online at NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Regional Office website:

salt marshes

Salt marshes in Southeast Alaska. Photo: Alaska ShoreZone Program

“The Alaska ShoreZone data is available on our website in a format that’s easy for the public to use” said Kurland. “It’s a great resource for regulatory agencies, land owners, developers, oil spill responders, and others to help identify important coastal habitat features and even sensitive habitats such as salt marsh or eelgrass.”

“What we’re finding is that the ShoreZone program is an indispensable conservation tool for coastal Alaska,” said Norman Cohen of The Nature Conservancy. “The state’s network of oil spill responders thanked us for giving them a new way to protect coastal fish habitat. Engineers building projects along Alaska coastlines use ShoreZone to avoid sensitive habitats.”

“Kayakers use it to plan tours, non-government organizations use it in their global conservation planning and government and private industry are routinely using it to develop better spill response plans,” added Harper. “The data have even been used to predict where invasive species are most likely to show up. It always surprises us how ShoreZone information is used.”

Sometimes, the imagery is just nice to look at. Harper recalled a comment made by elder Mike Jackson from the small Southeast Alaska village of Kake during one 2009 survey, as Jackson viewed the aerial imagery of Admiralty Island where he had learned to hunt and fish: “I feel like an eagle while watching this.”

Angoon tide channel

Tidal rapids in a lagoon near Angoon, Alaska. Photo: Alaska ShoreZone Program

Members of the public can also view some of the most beautiful coastal photos captured during the Alaska ShoreZone program, which will be on display during the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage. The exhibit, titled “Coastal Impressions: A Photographic Journey along Alaska’s Gulf Coast,” is being hosted by the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council (CIRCAC).

The Southeast Alaska ShoreZone initiative received the Coastal America Spirit Award in 2009 in recognition of an “outstanding partnership.” Supporting agencies and partners include: NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Office and Auke Bay Laboratories, The Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization (SEAPRO), Ocean Fund (Carnival Cruises), Coastal & Ocean Resources Inc., and Archipelago Marine Research Ltd.

For more information, contact:

November 7, 2011: Trials to reduce fish discards could be expanded
BBC News – “Trials to reduce discards from fishing vessels could be expanded as the government says initial results show they are working. Boats in the trials with CCTV cameras have to keep all the fish they catch but are rewarded with extra quota. Findings from 15 boats in England have seen discards of less than 1%. There are also similar trials in Scotland…”
Read the full story on how Archipelago is working with UK fisheries to help fish more selectively, reduce discards, and eliminate waste or view the video.
October 28, 2011: Archipelago wins 2011 BC Export Award for Sustainability
BC Export LogoVICTORIA, BC – Archipelago Marine Research was among nine British Columbia companies recognized today at the 29th annual 2011 BC Export Awards for outstanding achievements in exporting. More than 500 business leaders gathered at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver Hotel to honour the companies and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the exporting sector in the past year. Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., a Victoria-based provider of sustainable marine resource-management products and services, received the 2011 BC Export Award for Sustainability.
BC Export Award

Shawn Stebbins, Archipelago president and CEO, receives BC Export Award for sustainability

This distinction was based upon a range of criteria, including Archipelago’s thirty-year history in working with fisheries, governments, and coastal communities to develop and implement a range of sustainable marine resource-management practices; including fisheries management (both at-sea and dockside), coastal planning and analysis.

Archipelago is well known as a pioneer and leading proponent of electronic monitoring (EM) programs for fisheries; in fact, 100 percent of British Columbia’s commercial groundfish fleet is now monitored by Archipelago’s electronic monitoring technology. Drawing from the lessons learned as a British Columbia business safeguarding Canada’s marine resources, Archipelago has steadily expanded into the international marketplace, using BC expertise to address global challenges.

The BC Export Awards is the longest running ceremony of its kind in Canada.
September 17, 2011: Electronic eyes may replace New England fishing observers
Associated Press BOSTON “New England’s already strapped fishing fleet has a major new expense bearing down on it — paying for human monitors to track the fish that are hauled on deck or tossed overboard. That is, unless researchers can figure out how to replace those humans with cheaper electronic eyes. A federally funded pilot project is testing a system at sea that could record the catch, and even figure out what it weighs, relying largely on closed-circuit cameras on board…”
This article describes New England’s 54-month pilot project using electronic monitoring technology from Archipelago Marine Research as a cost-effective alternative to at-sea observers.