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Vessel Monitoring System


The Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) helps the BHSFU to monitor vessel positions, course and speed. Each unit consist of a tracking unit fitted to each vessel which regularly transmits the information through a communications satellite to a land earth station. This information is sent by secure internet connection to a database at the Fisheries Monitoring Center (FMC)

The VMS allows us to send request for position reports from any vessel at any time and also have the ability to send messages directly to the vessel.

The BHSFU and the FMC uses VMS to:

  • Encourage and monitor compliance with fisheries management arrangements.
  • Comply with Belize’s international obligations
  • Increase the range of management options available
  • Assist in the collection of data for management purposes

All vessels licensed to fish or carry out fishing related activities under the Belize flag are required to install a Mobile Transceiver Unit (MTU) on board. A vessel shall not leave port without an operational MTU.

MTUs shall only be obtained from authorized service providers approved by Belize. Information on authorized MTUs can be obtained from the BHSFU.


Transmission Costs

BHSFU pays for tracking costs, which are then recovered from the owners/operators through a VMS Fee.

Position tracking cost may vary depending on the circumstances of the fishery or other factors. Payment of other transmission cost is the responsibility of the owners/operators.

Equipment Cost

The equipment is obtained from an approved service provider through the BHSFU. The cost of the unit will be notified to an applicant at the time of issue of their license.

Equipment Hardware

The equipment IsatData Pro Marine Satellite Terminal consist of a IDP 690 with IDP 690 transceiver and 8m cable plus connect and a Treq VM with Treq VM Data Terminal and 2m data cable.



A Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) consists of a tracking unit on a vessel, a Mobile Transceiver Unit (MTC), the transmission medium. In the BHSFU’s VMS, MTU’s with built in global positioning system (GPS) are fitted to each vessel and regularly transmit information on vessel position, course and speed through an Inmarsat communications satellite to land earth station. This information is sent by secure internet connection to a database at the FMC

Officers at the FMC view vessel locations using software provided by our service providers. Map and other spatial references such as closed areas can be displayed using the software.

The FMC staffs are able to monitor fishing activity of individual vessel by creating tracks between polls as the information enters the FMC.


The owner/operator/master is responsible for the functionality of the MTU and shall ensure that:

  1. no person tampers or interferes with the MTU and that the MTU is no altered, damaged, sabotaged, disabled or otherwise interfered with;
  2. the information required to be submitted is not altered in an way
  3. the antenna connected to the MTU is not blocked in any way;
  4. the power supply of the MTU is not interrupted in any way;
  5. the MTU is not removed from the required or agreed installed position on the vessel or removed without prior authorization from the FMC; and
  6. Upon notification from the FMC that the vessel’s MTU has failed to transmit required data, the instructions of the FMC are complied with until such time that the vessel’s MTU is functioning to the satisfaction of the FMC.


Vessels are required to transmit a position report every hour or at shorter levels are may be prescribed by the FMC.


The MTU shall provide automatic transmission of information to the FMC relating to:

  1. the fishing vessel identification
  2. the most recent geographical position of the vessel with a position error which shall be less than 500 meters with a confidence level of 99%
  3. the date and time, expressed in universal time coordinated (UTC), of the fixing of the said position of the vessel.


The electronic catch reporting software has been integrated into the VMS and is used also by the FMC to receive catch and effort data information and other activities of the vessel.

The electronic catch reporting base system utilized application E-Forms 2.0 with touchscreen interface and optimized for its use in the IDP-Treq-VM hardware configuration on standard Windows Laptop PC.

It includes pre-defined forms for:

  • Vessel Registry and Fishing license/permit information.
  • Voyage Module to report Port Exit, Visits to other ports and End of Voyages.
  • Transshipment Module, Port Discharge and Bunkering.
  • E-logbook Module to report activities during all the Fishing stages and Trip.
  • Zone Module to report the entering to authorized/restricted fishing zones.