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Fisheries Monitoring Centre

Fisheries Monitoring Centre

The Naval Service acts as the official agency with responsibility for the operation of Ireland’s Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC). The FMC is located at Naval Base Haulbowline. This responsibility is carried out as part of a Service Level Agreement between the Department of Defence, Naval Service and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA)

The FMC carries out monitoring and surveillance of all vessels equipped with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) that are operating in the Irish EEZ and also of all Irish vessels operating in any jurisdiction.

The FMC also carries out monitoring and surveillance of all vessels equipped with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) that are operating in the waters of NEAFC adjacent to Irish waters.

This monitoring and surveillance includes the entry and exit by all fishing vessels in the following areas in the Irish EEZ:

  • Any maritime areas where specific rules on access to waters and resources apply
  • Any fishing restricted areas referred to in Control Regulations

The FMC monitors the entry and exit by all Irish fishing vessels in the following areas;

  • Any maritime areas where specific rules on access to waters and resources apply
  • Any Fishing restricted areas referred to in Control Regulations
  • Any Regulatory areas of any RFMO to which Ireland is a party
  • Waters under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of a third country

The FMC is responsible for the retention of all VMS data in a computer readable form for a period of at least three years.

The FMC also acts as the designated competent authority for receipt from fishermen of all effort reporting and hail notification requirements. This includes the operation and management of the designated ‘Speechstorm’ hail management system.

The FMC is manned twenty four hours a day seven days a week, activity is monitored information and information collated and distributed as required to Naval Service, Air Corps & SFPA.

Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)

The Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is a system which processes information passed by Irish registered fishing vessels using onboard satellite communications regarding their position, effort and catch. All fishing vessels over 12 metres have a VMS system.

These systems are used primarily in the Fishery Monitoring Centre (FMC), onboard Naval Service ships and onboard Air Corps Maritime Patrol Aircraft on fishery protection duties.

The vessel monitoring system in use by the Fisheries Monitoring Centre was originally installed in 2000 and it provides a visual display of all fishing vessel positions within the Irish EFL and worldwide positions for Irish fishing vessels. There are approximately 400 vessels active in Irish waters each day.

Fishery Protection System - Lirguard

The Naval Service has automated its fishery protection function and database while the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have been developed and in use since the mid 1990s.

Lirguard is the current fisheries protection system in use by the Naval Service.

Lirguard FPS is the overall integrated suite of systems used to manage fishery protection operations. The following systems form the Lirguard FPS

Fishery Information System (FIS)

FIS is an application used to capture, maintain and report on information regarding fishing vessels, owners, skippers, registrations, permits, sightings, boarding, warnings, detentions, effort reports including positional and catch data.

The Naval Service Ships each have a replicated database that mirrors, in near real-time, the master database in Haulbowline. The FIS provides a report facility that greatly improves the flexibility and adaptability of the system for both internal and external stakeholders.

Fishery Geographic System (FGS)

FGS is a system linked with the FIS which displays vessel positions on a nautical chart background and enables a wide range of spatial and analysis operations.

As most data in the FIS is related to the positions of Fishing Vessels and Naval Service Patrol Vessels, the most practical means of displaying the information for the user is via a Geographical Information System (GIS) with the positions correctly displayed in relation to known areas and other vessels on a nautical chart background.

Fishery Legislative System (FLS)

FLS is a system to record and display details and summaries of both European Union and Irish Legislation pertaining to Fishery Protection. The system also records and displays Naval Directives on Fisheries.

From experience, the Naval Service has learned the need to have the most up-to-date information on legislation available to its personnel at sea. The forerunner to the new FLS was the Fisheries Legislation Expert System (FLES). As all Expert systems are costly in terms of resources and maintenance, the Naval Service has diversified towards a document depository with a powerful search capability, including metadata searches, maintained by the staff of the FMC.

Electronic Recording and Reporting System (ERS)

ERS is a system where all fishing vessels above 24 metres must have a Data Entry Device (DED) onboard.This replaces the paper logbook where the skipper has heretofore, entered the daily catch, ICES Zone etc. Similary, the NS inspection team at sea, deployed from the Naval Patrol Vessel to a fishing vessel, will carry a Data Capture Device (DCD). The fishing vessels information and catch details will be entered into this device. This information will then be saved to the Fisheries Information Sysytem for onward transmission. The ERS will make the process more transparent, more effecient, more accurate and less costly.

Origins of the Fisheries Monitoring Centre


The National Supervisory Centre (NSC) was established at Naval Base in mid 1980s. All Naval Service fisheries monitoring data from 1983 onwards was stored on computer. Prior to this all data on fisheries inspections had been held in paper format. This data held includes sighting, boarding, warning and detention information from naval and air resources.

The NSC was designated as the reporting centre for Fishing Vessels operating in Irish EFL. The Oracle System was enhanced with the use of a Geographical Information System and legislation tools to form a Fishery Protection Information System (FPIS).

In 1998 the Lirsat project was set up to provide transponder boxes for fishing vessels as part of a European wide scheme In 1999 we had the installation of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) (Unsecured) and the conversion of NSC to a Fisheries Monitoring Centre. In 2008 the VMS was uopgraded to a secure version.