Vessel Monitoring System


WCPFC3 adopted a Conservation and Management Measure for the Commission VMS (CMM 2006-06 (65.99 KB)). WCPFC4 adopted an amended CMM for the Commission VMS (CMM 2007-02 (33.2 KB)) that includes the requirement for vessels in the Convention Area to maintain VMS transmission when they move into the part of the Convention Area bounded by 20°N and 175°E (the area for which a VMS implementation date has yet to be established) from elsewhere in the Convention Area.  WCPFC11 adopted an amended CMM CMM 2014-02 (295.8 KB) to reflect the Commissions adoption of the NC members commitment to implement VMS in the area north of 20N and west of 175E by 31 December 2013. (WCPFC9 Summary Report, paragraph 285) 

In December 2008, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with FFA for the provision of the WCPFC VMS services was formalised. The WCPFC VMS came into operation on April 1, 2009.

The contracted system that provides VMS information to the FFA VMS and the WCPFC VMS systems is referred to as the “Pacific VMS”. The WCPFC has approximately 1,500 WCPFC-registered vessels that report to the WCPFC VMS through the Pacific VMS. In addition the WCPFC VMS receives, through the SLA with FFA, high seas VMS information relating to FFA-registered vessels.

WCPFC9 agreed to a Statement describing Purpose and Principles of the WCPFC VMS (424.21 KB)

WCPFC Secretariat has prepared a set of VMS Reporting Requirements Guidelines - May 2018 (640.95 KB)

Operative Conservation and Management Measure

The current CMM for the Commission VMS was adopted at WCPFC11 and is [doccode:20341]. 

Standards Specifications and Procedures (SSPs)

WCPFC5 adopted the Standards Specifications and proccedures (SSPs) for the fishing vessel monitoring system (VMS) of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).   WCPFC9 adopted an amendment  to the SSPs related to the reporting timeframes for manual reporting in the event of ALC malfunction; this amendment applies from 1 March 2013 - 1 March 2017.  WCPFC12 agreed to amendments related to ALC-type approval procedure.  WCPFC13 further extended the amendment for manual reporting in the event of ALC malfunction to apply from 1 March 2017 - 1 March 2019.  A standard reporting format for these manual reports has been previously agreed.  The latest version of the VMS SSPs can be accessed here:-  (

Vessel Monitoring System Standards Specifications and Procedures (SSPs)_version as at Dec 2016 (WCPFC13) (157.63 KB)


WCPFC list of approved Mobile Transceiver Units (MTU)/Automatic Location Communicators (ALC)

The approved structure of the WCPFC VMS system allows vessels to report to the WCPFC through two ways: i) directly to the WCPFC VMS, or ii) to the WCPFC through the FFA VMS. 

In respect of vessels reporting through the FFA VMS (option ii)), FFA requirements determine the ALC units that are able to be used for this purpose.  The latest information on FFA VMS requirements can be found through this link on the FFA website. 

In respect of option i), WCPFC maintains a list of approved ALCs based on the requirements of VMS SSPs 

  • Paragraph 2.6 of the Commission VMS SSPs states, “In preparing the initial list of approved ALCs, the WCPFC Secretariat will take into account lists approved by existing regional and sub-regional VMS programmes, and lists approved by CCMs.” An initial list of approved Mobile Transceiver Units (MTU)/Automatic Location Communicators (ALC) was prepared by the WCPFC Secretariat on 19 June 2009.
  • Paragraph 2.7 of the Commission VMS SSPs states, "The Secretariat will assess proposals for inclusion of additional ALC makes and models on this list from both CCMs and equipment manufacturers and make recommendations for the TCC’s consideration and the Commission’s approval.  Approval of ALCs will be based on the Secretariat’s assessments of ALCs against minimum standards for the Commission VMS as set out in Annex 1 of CMM 2014-02 (or its successor measure), WCPFC SSPs, as relevant, by determining that the ALC make and model has the ability to successfully report to the Commission VMS, and by using the methodology established by the FFA with expenses for type approval processing to be borne by the proposing entity. By 31 July 2016, and as needed thereafter , the Secretariat will recommend removal from the list of approved ALC types any makes and models it has determined do not meet the minimum standards set out in Annex 1 of CMM 2014-02 (or successor measure), or do not have the ability to successfully report to the Commission VMS. If an ALC make and model is removed from the list of approved ALC types, flag States will ensure that their fishing vessels replace non-type approved ALCs with approved ALCs by the next replacement of the ALC but no later than three years after the Commission’s decision."  

The last update of the list of approved MTU/ALCs, which includes submissions by CCMs, can be accessed from here:-

MTU/ALC Type Approval List - 9 February 2018 (503.03 KB)


Requests for additional MTU/ALCs to be included on the approved ALCs list should be sent cc to

Commissions VMS Standard Operating Procedures

In accordance with paragraph 6.9 of the Commission VMS SSPs the Commission VMS Standard Operating Procedures (693.56 KB), was approved by the Commission at WCPFC15 (2018).    

Form to be used to registering a vessel on the Commission VMS (VTAF)

Paragraph 2.9 of the Commission VMS SSPs states, " For each fishing vessel required to report to the Commission VMS the flag CCM will submit all necessary data to complete its data file in the Commission’s VMS database.  This data will include the name of the vessel, unique vessel identification number (UVI) [* if and when adopted by the Commission], radio call sign, length, gross registered tonnage, power of engine expressed in kilowatts/horsepower, types of fishing gear(s) used as well well as the make, model, unique network identifier (user ID) and equipment identifier (manufacturer’s serial number) of the ALC that vessel will be using to fulfil its Commission VMS reporting requirements."  

To facilitate the submission of necessary vessel tracking data for each fishing vessel required to report to the WCPFC VMS, the Secretariat has provided for flag CCMs use a guideline VTAF form:- Vessel Tracking Agreement Form (VTAF) (425.86 KB)(34.45 KB)(113.48 KB).  Submissions of VTAF updates can be sent cc to

List of all the Members whose waters are included in the Commission’s VMS

WCPFC9 agreed to a decision related to the application of the Commission VMS solely to waters under the jurisdiction of Members and to complement and support Members’ national VMS (80.82 KB)  

The following table provides the list of WCPFC Members whose waters are included in the Commission VMS, which is maintained by the Secretariat in accordance with the WCPFC9 decision:

New Zealand*   23 Feb 2010 
(Tokelau was activated on 22 Aug 2012)
Waters under the national jurisdiction of New Zealand, which includes the Tokelau EEZ.
Cook Islands*   14 May 2010 Waters under the national jurisdiction of Cook Islands
Niue*   1 Jan 2013 Waters under the national jurisdiction of Niue
United States of America 16 January 2013  9 March 2013  The national waters of the United States (comprising the EEZ areas around the Hawaiian Islands, Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll, Johnston Atoll, Wake Island, Jarvis Island, Howland and Baker Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula west of 150 degrees west longitude, and the portion of the EEZ around American Samoa). 
Australia 13 February 2013 15 March 2013 The national waters of the Australia (comprising the EEZ areas around the Australia mainland and islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Macquarie Island, Norfolk Island, Heard and McDonald)
Federated States of Micronesia 5 March 2013 4 April 2013 FSM’s national waters
France 14 May 2013 13 June 2013 Waters under the jurisdiction of France around New Caledonia
France 20 May 2013 16 June 2013

Waters under the jurisdiction of France around French Polynesia

Waters under the jurisdiction of France around Wallis and Futuna

Palau 2 August 2013 1 Sept 2013 Palau's national waters
Tuvalu 8 August 2013 8 Sept 2013 Tuvalu national waters
Samoa 6 September 2013 6 October 2013 National waters of Samoa
Tonga 25 November 2014 13 March 2015 National waters of Tonga
Nauru 19 June 2015 19 July 2015 National waters of Nauru
Solomon Islands 9 March 2016 8 April 2016 National waters of Solomon Islands

*These three Members had their national waters included in the Commission VMS in accordance with previous WCPFC decisions.  

Page Updated 19 Dec, 2018
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