ESA title

STAR-FISH Feasibility Study

  • ACTIVITYFeasibility Study
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREAFood & Agriculture, Maritime and Aquatic

Objectives of the service

The main aim of the STAR-FISH feasibility study was to: 

Identify requirements for, and subsequently develop and test, an operational management system which verifies catch and discard documentation in order to support catch quota management and traceability services across the whole fishing supply chain. The objectives of the feasibility study were to: 

  • Capture the latest user requirements and latest interpretation of the new fishing regulations 
  • Seek to prove the effectiveness and reliability of the STAR-FISH hardware and software for an operational environment 
  • Confirm that STAR-FISH offers a service that is suitable for purpose and that the data collected and processed meets the expectations for regulators, vessel owners, wholesalers and retailers 
  • Demonstrate that STAR-FISH can offer a commercially viable cost-effective alternative to current manual systems which will underpin a comprehensive monitoring service 

Users and their needs

Potential end users are Fishing Regulators, Vessel Owners and Fish Wholesalers. These users will have specific additional requirements, many of which are prescribed by the new regulations. The service offered needs to support compliance management of the new regulations for both vessel owners and regulators. Based on the understanding of current regulations, knowledge of current trial outcomes and current systems in place, the following requirements have already been identified:  

  • Data recording that meets the regulatory requirements

  • Catch species verification

  • Evidence of reduced discarding

  • Rapid transfer of accurate data

  • A compact system that does not compromise the space on board vessels

  • A cost effective, affordable solution

  • Near real time data

  • A system which supports both regulator and vessel owners’ requirements 

The proposed service will support the regulator and vessel owners by:

  • Ensuring accurate and robust capture of the data required
  • Remote and/or automated verification of the catch species
  • Capture and retention of evidence of reduced discarding – the evidence to be of a type and quality to meet the expectations of the regulators and, if necessary, court proceedings
  • The back-up and management of data that has been transferred to the service provider in real time
  • Delivering the support required by the regulators and vessel owners

Service/ system concept

The STAR-FISH project will generate two services; an automated discard monitoring service and a fish traceability service. 

Both services will be derived from the same information generated from the STAR-FISH remote monitoring system installed on vessels that have engaged with the STAR-FISH service provider. 

At the core of the service will be secure data storage and management. 

The data captured by each vessel will include: 

  • Date and time stamps
  • Location information from GPS and other sources
  • Visual imagery from the catches
  • Records of automated species identification
  • Record of fishing activities such as gear deployment
  • Evidence of authorised discards
  • Confirmation of no unauthorised discards 

This information will be stored on vessels as well as being transmitted to the STAR-FISH hub on shore. The data will be stored securely – the level of security and encryption to be specified by the Regulator. The standards for the storage, handling and management of the data will be sufficient to meet the evidentiary requirements of the European Courts of Justice. The specifics of these requirements will be captured during the feasibility study. 

All data sets will be automatically backed up to secure servers at a separate location. Comparison between the data held on-board the vessels and at the STAR-FISH hub can be made to validate the accuracy of the data sets and ensure that no tampering has taken place. 

The secure management and handling of the data by STAR-FISH will provide both the vessel operators and the regulators with assurance the reported fishing activities were conducted in accordance with the new regulations.

Space Added Value

Many of the targeted vessels for STAR-FISH may already have on-board systems such as satellite communications or GNSS receivers and it is recognised that these, where possible, will be interfaced to STAR-FISH to avoid duplication of systems. However, the STAR-FISH system will also be configured for new installations that can benefit from the improved communication or navigation capability. 

The STAR-FISH system will integrate both satellite communications and satellite navigation (including positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) data from navigation satellites). 

Satellite Communications will offer an improved communications service between the vessel and shore. Satellite navigation will provide a reliable, global navigation service and a verifiable data source for time and position stamping of the images recorded. 

Regulators will want to control activity in certain areas and STAR-FISH will be flexible enough to be modified in line with the requirements as and when they change. 

The integration of STAR-FISH with current vessel monitoring obligations has the potential to show monitoring officers possible breaches of the fishing restrictions, described above. By monitoring location data on the images transmitted from vessels, officers can identify which vessels are adhering to their obligations, as well those which are not. This will make the activities of investigating officers more efficient, reducing the time spent pursuing false trails.

Current Status

The feasibility study started in November 2015 and ended with the Final Review in November 2016. 

The overall feedback has been very positive. In addition, during the study the following stakeholders were engaged: NFFO, Marine Scotland, Brixham Trawler Agents Ltd, Fishmongers’ Company, NUTFA, Sealord, Natural England, ClientEarth, Norwegian Fisherman's Association, LIFE, Marine & Fisheries Management Solutions, VisNed, Danish Fishermen PO, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, EDF, MMO, Welsh Government, SWFPA, Defra, Cefas and Icelandic Seachill. 

The combination of documented on board fishing vessel activity, using GNSS for location based information and verified through a fish analyser / remote observer technology linked to a low cost satellite communication system will be able to verify that all catches taken on board a vessel are accounted for. STAR-FISH will give a greater confidence in fishing mortality levels and minimise discarding. By linking discard compliance data to traceability standards, the system will be used by both wholesaler and retailers to supplement traceability strategies. 

The intention now is that the study will be followed by an operational demonstration project based on the minimum viable product. This follow-up project is fundamental to further develop, and to further promote, STAR-FISH to a wider potential customer base outside of the EU. This will result in a major business opportunity and a significant showcase of the IAP framework.

Status Date

Updated: 11 May 2017