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TMT and IMCS Network launch MCS Practitioner's Guide to Carrier Vessels

7 December 2022 : Today TMT and the International MCS Network (IMCS Network) launched the MCS Practitioners Introductory Guide to Carrier Vessels, which coincides with the IMCS Network virtual webinar on the potential operational MCS implications of the new FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Transshipment - see webinar details.

The guide is available in English, Español, Français.

This manual has been developed as a training tool to build knowledge on the fisheries operations and compliance risks associated with refrigerated carrier vessels (also known as reefers) in all agencies (Fisheries, Port, Coast Guard and Navy, Maritime etc.) who may play an operational role in fisheries monitoring control and surveillance (MCS), as well as for use by broader interested stakeholders.

While the manual is a stand alone tool, it has been developed as part of the series of ‘MCS Practitioners Introductory Guides’ which focus on the major industrial fishing gears and vessels to support government and non-government personnel training in fishing vessel recognition, determinations of fishing gear types, and MCS considerations.


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.

Previous guides that have been launched 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 was also released as complementary to the gear guides.

We are hugely pleased to be launching the latest guide in this series in cooperation with the IMCS Network, as part of our broader Joint Analytical Cell (JAC) cooperation. 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 and support vessels 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 this new guide 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 MCS 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 TMT, a valuable partner organization of the IMCS Network” Mark Young, IMCS Network Executive Director.

The MCS Practitioners Introductory 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 TMT and the IMCS Network as the source and copyright holder is given.

TMT is a Norwegian non-profit organisation that provides national fisheries authorities and international organisations 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 the use of best practice MCS tools and techniques developed 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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