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New Introductory Guides for MCS Practitioners

A new set of training manuals, the ‘MCS Practitioners Introductory Guides’ are launched today by TMT in cooperation with the International (IMCS) Network to support government and non-government personnel in fishing vessel recognition and determinations of fishing gear types.

29th November 2021: Launched today by TMT in cooperation with the International Monitoring Control and Surveillance (IMCS) Network, the guides will support better monitoring and compliance inspection practices by those who play an operational role in the fight against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing.

The guides are available in English, Español, Français.

Today’s industrial fishing methods, particularly those utilised in distant water fisheries, are highly complex operations in terms of the gear used, fishing activity, catch storage, and vessel track monitoring. Many of the vessels operating in these fisheries are active in countries where the government agencies responsible for fisheries monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) have limited opportunity to become familiar with these operations, and the associated compliance and fisheries management risks.

The guides have been developed as training tools to introduce common international industrial fishing vessel gear types and operations associated in the majority of global distant water fisheries and to build knowledge in personnel working in all relevant government agencies, including fisheries, port authorities, and the Coast Guard, Navy, and maritime security agencies who may play an operational role in fisheries MCS. They are also made available for use by a broader interested fisheries stakeholder community.

The first gear guides launched today focus on Longline Fishing, Pole and Line Fishing, and Purse Seine Fishing. In further support of building an introductory understanding of the key considerations and needs of vessel inspections, a fourth guide Industrial Fishing Vessel Inspections is also released as complementary to the gear guides.

Each guide provides an overview of how to recognise vessels by the specific gear type, a description of the fishing operation, an overview of the gear and related equipment used, guidance on vessel positional tracking, and key issues for fisheries compliance and enforcement officers to be aware of during the conduct of an inspection.

Further guides on Trawl Fishing and Refrigerated Carrier Vessel (Reefers) are planned for release in early 2022.

We are hugely pleased to be launching this new series of training guides in cooperation with the IMCS Network. We have aimed to answer a request put to us by many of the government agencies we work with – that there is need for straightforward, informative guides on the workings of common industrial fishing vessels and gears that are active in distant water fisheries, their operational risks, and their MCS considerations, to assist with training, awareness and planning. We hope that the global MCS community finds them useful!’ Duncan Copeland, TMT Executive Director

This series will be instrumental in supporting the fight against illegal fishing; many maritime authorities are broadly trained in security and policing strategies and procedures but have less time and resources to have their personnel study and become familiar with the wide range of fisheries gear and practices employed in distant water fisheries. Our Network Members and Observer organizations have long seen the need for accessible introductory training guides to support those colleagues involved in fishing vessel boardings and inspections. We are thrilled by the quality of these new training guides completed in collaboration with Trygg Mat Tracking, a valuable partner organization of the IMCS Network” Mark Young, IMCS Network Executive Director.

The Guides are available for download:




To print high resolution copies, please contact to request the print file.

TMT and the IMCS Network strongly encourage the use, reproduction, and dissemination of these guides. Material may be copied, downloaded, and printed for private study, research, and teaching purposes, or for use in non-commercial products or services, provided that appropriate acknowledgement of Trygg Mat Tracking and the IMCS Network as the source and copyright holder is given.

TMT is a Norwegian non-profit organization that provides national fisheries authorities and international organizations with fisheries intelligence, analysis, and capacity building, targeting a reduction of illegal fishing and broader improvements in ocean governance.

The IMCS Network was established in 2001 to provide a mechanism for fisheries law enforcement professionals to share information, cooperate to address the challenges posed by illegal fishing, and collaborate on policy development to monitor and enforce the increasingly complex regulatory framework of rules and regulations implemented to manage the commercial harvesting of fish around the world. The Mission of the IMCS Network is to promote and facilitate cooperation and coordination among Members through information exchange, capacity development and collaboration in order to achieve the improved effectiveness and efficiency of fisheries MCS activities on local, regional and international levels.


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