Vessel Monitoring Systems in Alaska - Federal Register Rules and Notices
The U.S. Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) program type-approves enhanced mobile transceiver units (EMTUs) for use in U.S. fisheries. Currently, the only approved method for transferring VMS data from a vessel to NMFS is by satellite-linked communication services. This final rule amends the existing VMS type-approval regulations to add cellular-based EMTUs (EMTU-Cs) type-approval application and testing procedures; compliance and revocation processes; and technical, service, and performance standards. This rule is necessary to allow for the use of EMTU-Cs and cellular communication service, in addition to satellite-only models, in federally managed fisheries.
If Federal fishery regulations require use of VMS, fishing vessels must have a NMFS-approved EMTU (or mobile transmitter unit, although MTUs are no longer approved for new installations). EMTUs are affixed to fishing vessels as required by Federal regulations, and report GPS locations and potentially other fisheries information to NMFS. The EMTU allows the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) to determine the geographic position of the vessel at specified intervals or during specific events, via satellite mobile communication services (MCSs). These satellite MCSs and EMTUs send data securely and at near real-time so that fisheries management and enforcement can monitor vessels' activity as it occurs.