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Satellite-Based Vessel Monitoring Systems for Fisheries Management: International Legal Aspects

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Satellite-based vessel monitoring systems (VMS) are a relatively new technology that assist fisheries management authorities in data-gathering and ensuring compliance with management objectives. In comparison with traditional means of data-gathering and monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS), satellite-based VMS offer considerable advantages in cost-effectiveness, especially if applied at the regional level. Before opting for a satellite-based VMS, however, fisheries management authorities should realise that a number of limitations exist, that it may not be the most cost-effective in all circumstances and that the issue of the confidentiality and security of information will be crucial to co-operation and compliance. The main focus of the article are the relevant rights and obligations of states under international law. The analysis concludes, among other things, that significant legal restrictions exist in the exercise of jurisdiction by port and coastal states with respect to foreign fishing vessels in lateral passage, conditions for entry into port and foreign vessels engaged in bunkering of fishing vessels.

Affiliations: 1: Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS), Utrecht University; 2: Centre for Maritime Policy, University of Wollongong


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