Emergency Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Byelaw: Consultation

Emergency Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Byelaw: Consultation

Eastern IFCA is considering implementing an emergency byelaw and is seeking your views.  The deadline for responses is midday 15 June 2022.  More information on the byelaw, its potential impacts and how to respond can be found below.

The annual Wash cockle fishery is very unlikely to take place this year, therefore it is likely that there will be increased effort in shrimp and whelk fisheries in the Wash and North Norfolk Coast.  This increases the risk of over-fishing in the whelk fishery and of impacts to the Wash and North Norfolk Coast Marine Protected Area in relation to the shrimp fishery.

To mitigate this risk, we are considering implementing a byelaw which would effectively accelerate planned requirements relating to VMS as follows:

If you:

  • Fish for whelk or shrimp within the Wash and North Norfolk Coast; or
  • Transit the Wash and North Norfolk Coast during a whelk or shrimp fishing trip; or
  • Carry on board your vessel any whelk or shrimp within the Wash and North Norfolk Coast;

Then the following requirements would apply:

  • For under 12m vessels, Inshore VMS (IVMS) will have to be installed on all vessels in accordance with the timeline set out by the Marine Management Organisation;
  • All vessels will have to report using either an IVMS or VMS+ device once every 3 minutes;
  • You must notify the Authority if a device is not working and cannot continue fishing until Eastern IFCA provide authority to go again (which may include whilst the device is still not reporting).

Given that the byelaw will effectively accelerate the reporting requirement ahead of the national requirement, we anticipate that the impacts on you will be limited.

As we understand it, many IVMS devices come with 1-year’s free reporting, but the cost is circa £150 per year where this is not the case.

In addition, VMS+ users will have to pay an additional cost for the additional reporting in the region of £150 per year.

The full wording of the draft byelaw can be found here: draft byelaw


Please note: the wording of the byelaw has been revised since the version provided in papers for the 48th Eastern IFCA meeting (Action Item 12).

The associated initial Impact Assessment can be found here: impact assessment


Due to the risks posed by increases in effort, we intend to implement this byelaw as soon as possible.  Therefore, we ask that any objections, concerns or comments relating to the emergency byelaw are provided in writing to Eastern IFCA by midday on 15 June 2022.  It is intended that the byelaw, if made, would come into effect soon after this date, after considering all the responses. Responses should be addressed to:


Eastern IFCA

Unit 6 North Lynn Business Village

Bergen Way

King’s Lynn

PE30 2JG


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