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MMO Announces the Results of I-VMS Device Testing

Industry update on the results of I-VMS device testing, as MMO confirms its ongoing commitment to support fishers



Fishers will continue to be supported by MMO following the outcome of the independent testing on Inshore Vessel Monitoring Systems (I-VMS) devices and are assured that upcoming legislation is on pause and will only come into effect once roll-out has been fully completed.


I-VMS devices are required to monitor inshore fishing activity to improve marine management and sustainability, ensure proper fishing practices and prevent illegal fishing to help protect and enhance the livelihoods of fishers.


Legislation in the form of a Statutory Instrument is due to come into force making it a legal requirement for all under-12 metre vessels - domestic and foreign - to have an I-VMS device installed and transmitting data to MMO, when they are at sea in English waters. Following the end of independent testing, there is no expectation that government will progress introduction of the legislation until issues with the roll-out of I-VMS devices have been resolved.


As England’s marine regulator, MMO has been leading preparations to support industry, through Type Approval, grant funding and a staged roll-out of I-VMS devices, so that every fisher can be compliant when legislation is eventually introduced.


Four devices were Type Approved in 2021 after suppliers provided evidence of their specification. However last year, following feedback, MMO acted and commissioned independent assurance testing on all four devices to provide assurance. Fishers were advised to wait until the results of this additional testing before choosing and purchasing their I-VMS device.


This independent testing is now complete, and two of the devices have failed the assurance process. Type Approval status will therefore be revoked from Maritime Systems Ltd MS44 device and from the Satlink Nano as they have been shown to not meet the original Type Approved specifications set out by MMO. This will be effective from 12:00pm Friday 19 May 2023, subject to final confirmation from MMO. The remaining two devices, Fulcrum Nemo and Succorfish SC2, will remain Type Approved following minor fixes and further review.


MMO has therefore taken the decision to temporarily pause the I-VMS roll-out while it works with suppliers and fishers in resolving the issues raised. All fishers are being contacted directly to make them aware of how this affects them, and what steps are being taken to support them if any changes are now needed.


Tom McCormack, MMO Chief Executive, said:

We remain committed to supporting the industry and fishers, and the feedback received last year could not be ignored.
In response, MMO acted and commissioned independent testing. After receiving the testing results, we have now taken action to pause I-VMS roll-out and focus on supporting affected fishers.
I know this news is unsettling and I apologise for this. But we absolutely needed to take action in response to a supplier who has been selling I-VMS devices to fishers that have significant failures against the agreed device specifications.
I want to assure fishers our priority is to support affected fishers to secure replacement devices.
MMO can confirm that fishers will be financially supported to secure suitable, replacement devices.
Fishers will be contacted directly with more information and there is no requirement to take action at this stage.
Fishers are also being supported via our coastal teams and through a dedicated helpline.

A dedicated helpline has been set up to help with enquiries. Call 01900 508618 Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 4.30pm. It will also be operating on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 May from 10am to 4pm.

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