Defra

Fisheries Surveillance Licensing System

Development of a sea fisheries surveillance system for Cefas, an executive agency of Defra. The powerful track-while-scan radar system would queue up a list of 'targets', and as the aircraft flew over operators could photograph and record details of the vessel - for example registration, installed equipment, fishing activities, etc. The onboard licensing database could then verify if the vessel was licensed (and for that area and equipment).

At the time, mobile data was not available to the aircraft. So a subset of the fisheries database was downloaded onto the aircraft between sorties, and observation data was uploaded from the previous sortie.

The previous surveillance aircraft had been slow and less well equipped. Consequently they would be overhead significantly longer, and more obtrusively. With the powerful track-while-scan radar, photographic equipment, and online information, the aircraft could gather all that was required in a single low fast pass - often taking in a number of vessels in that single pass.