MRAG has a wide experience of designing and implementing fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance programmes as well as providing research into issues regarding illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.  This experience includes providing technical advice to governments and regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) (e.g. Advice to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) on implementation of a centralised vessel monitoring system and observer programmes), training (e.g. training courses in the planning and implementation of national MCS plans for Pacific Island States), analysis (ref: Agnew at al. 2009, Hoshino, Hillary and Pearce, 2010) and practical implementation (e.g. provision of fisheries officers for UK Overseas Territories and forensic analysis of vessel monitoring systems (VMS) for licensing approval).

MRAG has designed and implemented both scientific and compliance focussed fishery observer programmes in the Southern Ocean (South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, the Ross Sea and Bouvet Island), central western Indian Ocean (British Indian Ocean Territory), the northwest Atlantic (North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation Regulatory Area), the Mediterranean (ICCAT bluefin tuna (BFT) programme) and in European Union waters, along with large scale transhipment ocean-wide observer programmes for ICCAT, IOTC and CCSBT.  The size and scope of these programmes has ranged from the supply of an individual observer on a scientific vessel, to servicing a fleet of a large number of offshore vessels and farms, requiring substantial logistic support and management.  We also provide independent reviews of observer programmes including the largest in the world, the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Programme off the coast of Alaska. 

MRAG also manage and provide advice on the use of high-tech solutions for MCS, such as VMS, satellite monitoring, vessel mounted video systems and other cutting edge innovative solutions that can be added to the MCS toolkit employed by fisheries managers.

MRAG can provide a complete end-to-end MCS service including:

  • MCS advice and programme development;
  • Observer programme development and recruitment;
  • Training of observers and MCS staff;
  • Research into IUU and MCS;
  • Programme review and monitoring;
  • Development of technical manuals specific to a fishery;
  • Data collection and handling including database design and management;
  • Data analysis and report production;
  • Logistics and technical support.


Title Region End Date
IOTC Transhipment Regional Observer Programme

The long-term objective of the Programme for Transhipment by Large-Scale Fishing…

Indian Ocean
SPRFMO Observer Programme Accreditation Evaluator

The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation is an inter-governmental…

Supply of observers to the Falkland Islands Loligo Fishing fleet 2020 - 2023

The purpose of this contract is to provide 16 professional Marine Mammal Observers (…

Antarctic Ocean
Supply of observers to the Falkland Islands Loligo Fishing fleet 2020 - 2023

The purpose of this contract is to provide 16 professional Marine Mammal Observers (…

Antarctic Ocean
Map UK NEAFC Registerd Ports IUU Documentation and Controls

This project was completed by MRAG Ltd and RPA Ltd under Lot 6: Marine and Fisheries R…

The Implementation of the ICCAT Regional Observer Programme for Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna (ROP-BFT)

The ROP-BFT is a regional observer programme monitoring bluefin tuna fishing and…

REM Data Integration

The goal of the project was to explore how data from Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM…

Scientific and technical advice for the management of maritime waters in British Indian Overseas Territory (BIOT)

A 200 nautical mile Fisheries Conservation and Management Zone (FCMZ) was declared…

Indian Ocean
Risk-based approach to Remote Electronic Monitoring for inshore fisheries

MRAG Ltd was contracted by Natural England to deliver a project developing a modular-…

EU fisheries management data flows Dockside Monitoring and Seafood Traceability in the EU

This project reviewed the processes of dockside monitoring of seafood landings in EU…

Analysis, pilot and management options for the implementation of Pelagic Landing Obligations

Compliance with the Landing Obligation will require significant changes to existing…

Development of a fishing fleet management and licensing system

Seychelles, under the Third South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared…

Indian Ocean
An analysis of the uses, impacts and benefits of fish aggregation devices (FADs) in the global tuna industry

This project was commissioned by WWF-UK in early 2016 to contribute to the ongoing…

MRAG Project EU Framework: Studies in the field of the Common Fisheries Policy and Maritime Affiars No Fish/2006/09 : Lot 2 Legal Studies Related to Maritime Affairs

Lot 2 of the 'Studies in the fields of the Common Fisheries Policy and Maritime…

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Fisheries Management.

The work undertaken by MRAG for Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich…

Atlantic Ocean
MRAG Project Fisheries training course for HMS Endurance and HMS Protector Officers

MRAG provided  3-day introductory fisheries courses for officers from both HMS…

Atlantic Ocean
Monitoring, Control and Surveillance of a commercial Chain of Custody from Catch to Final Product

Monitoring, control and surveillance of a seafood importer’s entire supply chain to…

MRAG Project Monitoring, Control and Surveillance of large pelagics in the Indian Ocean

This was a large scale pilot-project aimed at testing the conditions for regional…

Indian Ocean
MRAG Project Practical Definitions of Structure and Function to Monitor and Survey the Marine Environment

A study to project practical definitions of ecosystem 'structure' and 'function' that…

Study of the impact and feasibility of the setting up of a joint inspection structure based on a Community Fisheries Control Agency

The study examined the impact, setting and structure of a Community Fisheries Control…

Evidential Value of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS)

MRAG assessed to what extent VMS information could constitute primary evidence in…

MRAG Project A strategy for the long term optimisation of the Mauritanian fisheries control and surveillance system

The project goal was to propose a strategy, to the Délégation à la Surveillance de la…