Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM): business and regulatory impact assessment - draft

The draft business and regulatory impact assessment (BRIA) of the Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) Scottish Statutory Instrument (SSI).


Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) relates to the use of imagery, sensors, and a Vessel Positioning System (VPS) to independently monitor fishing operations, effort (fishing activity at sea), and/or catch. In this paper we explore the impact of such a requirement as it specifically applies to two fishing fleet segments – pelagic and scallop dredge vessels.

Two partial BRIAs (one relating to pelagic vessels and one relating to scallop dredge vessels) were prepared alongside the public consultation on the usage of REM[1],. The consultation asked a range of questions relating to the mandatory rollout of REM to pelagic and scallop dredge vessels and also asked for views regarding broader rollout of REM to additional fleet segments (i.e. beyond pelagic and scallop) in the future. However, given that any broader rollout is still at an early stage of development, separate BRIAs have not yet been produced for these additional fleet segments. Following the public consultation, the two partial BRIAs have now been updated to support the draft Scottish Statutory Instrument (SSI) which is being introduced to require REM onboard pelagic and scallop dredge vessels.

As outlined below in the full BRIAs, REM requirements are being imposed on scallop and pelagic vessels to strengthen existing enforcement mechanisms in relation to the regulation of sea fishing activity in the Scottish zone or by Scottish scallop and pelagic vessels wherever they are fishing. The high resolution data generated from REM systems will also enhance the evidence base on which decisions are taken by the Scottish Government or other relevant public bodies, including the provision of scientific advice and decisions relating to wider marine planning. The use of REM is also expected to help deliver the confidence and accountability that consumers and members of the public want to see from seafood products.

The specific cost of purchasing REM systems, regardless of the fishing fleet segment concerned, is difficult to quantify precisely given that fishers will procure their systems on the open market. As a result, the price charged for REM systems is anticipated to vary between different providers and may reflect whether vessels are purchasing REM systems on an individual basis or in greater quantities as organised buying groups. Nevertheless, based on previous trials, voluntary schemes and knowledge of the systems which are used in some areas (both in the UK and outwith the UK) or are proposed to be used in future[2], we have presented as much information as possible in these BRIAs. Likewise, the operational costs associated with the REM systems, particularly those relating to data transfer and storage costs, will vary depending on the vessel layout, the type of fishing operation, length of time at sea etc, along with variations relating to services procured on the open market. We have provided estimates on those costs within these BRIAs, however, the exact costs for individual vessels are likely to vary. Through the public consultation, we asked respondents to indicate whether they foresaw any barriers to vessels meeting the costs of REM systems themselves. Whilst a number of consultation responses identified that there may be some barriers to the fishing industry of meeting REM costs, the responses acknowledged that these barriers were not evenly met across the different fishing fleet segments. On this basis, the decision was taken by the Scottish Government that the issue of funding for REM should be taken on a fleet segment by fleet segment basis.

Regarding businesses which will be impacted by this policy, the most directly impacted businesses will be those operating the fishing vessels themselves; but also the supply chain associated with REM hardware and software, and the Scottish Government.



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