From better passenger experience and crew welfare to improved vessel operations, the benefits of reliable, onboard satellite connectivity are obvious. Satellite communications can transform the daily environment and efficiency of any fishing vessel. Ensuring contact with family and friends ashore with access to emails, weather updates, navigation, fishing data, light web browsing, voice and data services, and text messaging are all possible in a world in which we are used to staying connected wherever we are.
Now, a new robust solution from Inmarsat—the world leader in global mobile satellite communications—Pivotel and Addvalue Innovation has been developed to offer owners and operators not only guaranteed satellite-connectivity performance but also compliance with 2021 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries regulations for vessel-monitoring systems for future years.
Designed to be compact for small and midsize fishing boats, the fully integrated and type-approved Fleet One VMS package provides commercial-vessel owners with a unique and affordable system capable of meeting reporting requirements and offering full-featured satellite voice and data services. This is particularly timely for vessel owners looking to meet the new regulation with a Gulf federal for-hire permit, rent their boats out for a day, or take on individual day-fishers. Vessel owners and operators can learn about the regulations, including affected vessels, requirements, NOAA-approved satellite products, and the NOAA reimbursement program at www.pivotel.com/fleet-vms.
The new sustainability and reporting regulations require the owner or operator of certain charter or headboat vessels to electronically declare a trip before leaving and submit an electronic fishing report for each trip prior to offloading fish. For-hire vessel operators must report all species caught, regardless of location. They must also install permanent approved location-tracking hardware/software with GPS capabilities that transmits data to the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Services. For-hire trip declarations cannot be submitted using the commercial telephone system or unapproved software. Failure to submit fishing records will result in a prohibition from harvesting the reef fish or pelagic species, non-renewal of federal for-hire permits, or possible further NOAA penalties.
The Pivotel Fleet One VMS package includes the Addvalue iFleetONE IP-based terminal for voice and data services and proprietary VMS; RedPort Optimizer firewall and router for data management; and Pivotel satellite connectivity via Inmarsat. Providing flexible and reliable satellite capabilities via Inmarsat’s L-band service, the system reassures owners of the trip declaration, electronic fishing reporting, and location-tracking components required to comply with the new NOAA rule and ensures there is no need to rely on cellular-based devices. In addition, users can take advantage of satellite-and-mobile-technologies specialist Pivotel’s bundled pricing and customized airtime packages.
Fishing vessels affected by the regulations that do not have NMFS/NOAA’s type-approved vessel-monitoring system but have purchased an approved enhanced mobile transceiver unit to comply with the NMFS/NOAA’s regulations are eligible for a VMS rebate of up to $3,100 under a Pacific States Marine Fisheries commission-reimbursement program.
There are about 3,000 charter and headboat vessels in the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico, most of which have never reported catch information previously, according to NOAA Fisheries. With no parallel on the market, the Pivotel Fleet One package helps the fishing-fleet owners meet today’s demanding communications while also enabling the expansion of digital applications on board the vessels for many years to come.