Fisheries data to be grouped under single €4.5 million system

A customised data system is to bring together some nine different information systems that are currently used to keep track of Maltese fishing volumes

File photo
File photo

A customised data system is to bring together some nine different information systems that are currently used to keep track of Maltese fishing volumes.

A €4.5. million data system will integrate nine information systems that the fisheries department uses to track boats and fishing quantities, in a bid to harmonise the monitoring of Malta’s fisheries.

These individual systems include the fishing vessel registry, the vessel monitoring system and GPRS system, e-log books, inspectorate reports, sales, fuel subsidy allocation, funds, and risk management.

The turnkey contractor will be expected to design, implement and maintain the customised Fisheries Integrated Information System, and will require experience in designing similar projects over the last 10 years at a value of over €2 million.

The winning tenderer will be selected through a competitive dialogue and the best price-quality ratio system, rather than simply picking the lower bidder.

Fisheries in Malta are typically artisanal fisheries and non-industrial, with fishers alternating between fishing gears throughout the year, depending on the species targeted.

Malta’s first 12 nautical miles are reserved exclusively for Maltese fishermen as well as operators in the aquaculture sector.

As at the end of 2021, the Maltese fishing fleet was composed of 859 commercial vessels, of which 455 (53%) were part-time vessels.

The absolute majority (93%) of the professional vessels are less than 12m in length, and over half are traditional luzzi or kajjiki, operating on the coastal waters.

Larger vessels, those over 12m in length, amount to 64 vessels and mainly consist of trawlers, long-liners and netters which operate mainly in off-shore waters all year round. In 2022, a total of 2,731 fishing licences were issued to vessel owners.

EU member states must collect economic and stock-related figures, as well as evaluate the abundance and distribution of stocks independently of the data provided by commercial fisheries.

Under the new FIIS system, Maltese authorities will have a single-point entry to various records dealing with fishers, such as the Vessel Monitoring System and GPRS that log vessel locations at a given time.

The VMS correlates catch reports with the vessel’s presence in given areas: fisheries managers can estimate the amount of a given fish in an area, the amount taken by fishing vessels, and project overfishing before it happens.

Fishers also have to log various details of their catch, species and quantity in an e-log book, which includes information on how and where the fish were caught, and a landing declaration.

In turn, some 80 inspectors survey both Maltese and foreign-owned vessels at sea, logging around 200 reports a week.