Powering the Next Chapter in Maritime Connectivity for Commercial Fishing Vessels
Mike McNally, Director, Maritime Products
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Across the maritime industry, digitization has been accelerating as fleet and vessel owners respond to new climate and safety regulations requiring industry segments to maximize efficiency in their operations and comply with emerging environment standards. This is certainly the case in the commercial fishing industry, where fleet operators face with increased competition and new challenges that digital technologies can help alleviate.
The range of emerging digital solutions and systems that monitor vessel movements and fishing activities, and enable fisherman to report their catch to authorities, have the potential to create new opportunities for commercial fishing fleets to use data to drive more informed decision-making. These applications require constant high-speed connectivity that is not always readily available at sea.
High-throughput satellite services, like Intelsat FlexMaritime, can help meet the emerging bandwidth demands of fleet and vessel operators in these supremely challenging environments.
Regulatory Pressures on the Rise
The commercial fishing industry remains constrained by new and intensifying regulations and restrictions. Concerns about overfishing that could negatively impact biodiversity and permanently loss of certain iconic fish species have spurred worldwide crackdowns and bans prohibiting access to previously lucrative fishing locations. The increasing global focus on sustainability, and rising geopolitical turmoil will likely continue to limit accessible areas for commercial fishing operations.
Regulations are not limited to sustainable fishing alone. Commercial fishing remains one of the most hazardous occupations. In the U.S., industry fatality rates are 40 times that of the national average. The industry suffers from more than 100,000 deaths on the job each year. Enhancing safety is an ongoing concern for regulatory bodies.
Faced with these continuously emerging regulations governing fishing practices and safety protocols, the commercial fishing industry simply must embrace digital technologies and industry-specific applications to transform business practices and achieve compliance to avoid costly fines and penalties. Monitoring technologies, electronic logbooks, gear sensors, global positioning systems, and other digital tools can all greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of fishing operations while elevating safety and reducing environmental impact. But all need access to reliable, ubiquitous connectivity while navigating the open and remote waters.
Fending off Competitive Threats
The advantages of digitization extend beyond compliance and operational optimization. In an industry where 2% of the global fleet controls over 50% of the worldwide catch and where the rise of alternative vessel-based practices, such as farm-based fisheries, pose a significant threat to profitability, increasing adoption of technology can serve to level the playing field for smaller fishing fleets, enabling them to be more competitive, while at the same time avoiding fines and conducting fishing operations in a more sustainable and optimized way.
A Satellite Powered Solution for Commercial Fishing
Intelsat FlexMaritime is a global, fully managed connectivity solution designed specifically to meet the evolving business requirements and increasing connectivity demands of commercial fishing companies. FlexMaritime removes the complexity of dealing with bandwidth availability, configuration, and management of network infrastructure, giving fishing boat captains, crews, and all related stakeholders peace of mind.
FlexMaritime delivers speed and multiple layers of throughput where needed, even at the most remote ocean locations. This award-winning, high-performance service provides consistent, “always on” connectivity anywhere in the world with unrivaled network uptime, meaning end-users won’t have to worry about a lack of service availability or quality.
Commercial fishing operators are historically slow to embrace new technologies. Staying afloat in today’s turbulent maritime ecosystem requires a change in thinking. Satellite communications networks can play a critical role in accelerating digitization, enabling access to critical applications, and enabling owners to derive maximum value from their fleets. Commercial fleet operators must prepare now for the next chapter of maritime satellite connectivity.