USAID Oceans and Inmarsat promote sustainable fishing

29 August 2017: The United States Agency for International Development’s Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) and Inmarsat have launched a partnership to improve traceability and promote sustainable fishing in Southeast Asia.

The USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia’s Regional Environment Office Director, Angela Hogg, and Senior Vice President of Sales for Inmarsat Maritime, Gerbrand Schalkwijk, made the announcement at a signing ceremony in Bangkok.

Left to right:  Geronimo Silvestre, Chief of Party, USAID Oceans; Gerbrand Schalkwijk Chief Sales Officer, Inmarsat Maritime; Angela Hogg USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia’s Regional Environment Office Director.

The partnership will use satellite communications technology to advance catch documentation and traceability (CDT) in pursuit of legal, reported, regulated and sustainable fishing in the region.

Tracking, monitoring

USAID Oceans will leverage Inmarsat’s expertise to improve communications for fishing vessels in the region. Crew members on medium and large vessels will integrate existing monitoring systems and CDT data with Inmarsat’s low data Fleet One and IsatData Pro services for tracking and monitoring ports and vessels.

Implementation will be focused initially in Indonesia and Thailand, where USAID Oceans has established learning and expansion sites for CDT system development and testing.

In Indonesia, fishing vessels from participating companies will be equipped with onboard satellite communications systems for real-time electronic voice and data exchange while at sea, consistent with Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries reporting requirements.

Safer sailing

This enhanced connectivity will help reduce illegal fishing and support fishers to monitor and share fish stocks, locate fish faster, improve voyage planning and reduce operational costs. Better ship-to-shore communication will also enable captains to instantly track weather forecasts to ensure safer sailing and quality of life at sea.

In Thailand, in partnership with seafood producer Thai Union, Inmarsat is providing a satellite communication solution for fishing vessels which allows at-sea connectivity for quicker and easier digital catch reporting, crew communication, and fleet management.

Findings from these initial activities will enable the partnership to support other countries in the Asia Pacific region to use similar systems.

Crew welfare

“We believe that by bringing a new level of connectivity onboard, we can help combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, ensure compliance, improve data transfer, quality and reliability, and enhance crew safety,” said Inmarsat’s Gerbrand Schalkwijk.

“Inmarsat has been at the forefront of crew welfare and safety for over 37 years and is pushing the boundaries of satellite communications at sea. By working with USAID Oceans, we can help safeguard the future of the industry and the countries where fishing is so vital to their economy.”

USAID Oceans is one of many US initiatives supporting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its 10 member states. The United States partners with ASEAN to support economic integration, expand maritime cooperation, cultivate emerging leaders, promote opportunity for women, and address transnational challenges.