Vessel Tracking Review - Engagement Portal

Project overview

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) is undertaking a broad review of the implementation and administration of vessel tracking in Queensland's commercial fisheries. This review aims to address the Ombudsman's preliminary observations and proposed actions, as well as reviewing the implementation and regulation of vessel tracking more broadly through a post implementation review.

This engagement hub has been set up to provide visibility and a single point of truth throughout the review process, as well as enable stakeholders to submit comments and enquiries relating to the review. We will post updates on progress and publish vessel tracking working group meeting outcomes.

Key documents, including preliminary project plans and a copy of the Queensland Ombudsman's preliminary observations and proposed actions are available in the document library. There is also a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and links to useful resources available on the right hand side of the page.

You can provide feedback via the submission form or by contacting us at VTEngagement@daf.qld.gov.au.

DAF has been using vessel tracking since 1996 as part of ongoing management of several fisheries within Queensland, including the east coast trawl fleet, sea cucumber (beche-de-mer) and some net fisheries. As an action of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017-2027 (SFS), vessel tracking was rolled out more broadly across 2019 and 2020, and has been completed for all major commercial fisheries.

A number of issues have been raised by industry throughout 2019 and 2020 relating to delays with the delivery of vessel tracking units, refunds and warranty claims as well as concerns about suitability of units, ongoing costs, unit and installation safety, and data security. Throughout the implementation these issues have been investigated, have or are being progressively addressed, or will be considered as part of this broad review.

In September 2019, the then Acting Assistant Ombudsman wrote to the department about complaints received regarding the implementation of vessel tracking for commercial fishing activities. The letter advised of the commencement of an investigation into the issues of the complaint, which related to the department’s planning, implementation and administration of vessel tracking for commercial fishers in Queensland. Further information was requested by the Assistant Ombudsman in December 2019 and supplied to the Ombudsman in February 2020.

On 10 June 2020, the department received correspondence from the Queensland Ombudsman regarding the outcome of the investigation into the department’s administration of vessel tracking. The correspondence stated that, due to a number of concerns with the department’s implementation of vessel tracking for commercial fishing operations, further review was required. The Ombudsman provided an attachment outlining a range of preliminary issues of concern and proposed actions, and provided an opportunity for the department to investigate the issues by expanding the department’s planned post implementation review (PIR) to also address the Ombudsman’s concerns. The department committed to commissioning a PIR of vessel tracking following the recommendations of the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee’s examination of the Fisheries (Sustainable Fisheries Strategy) Amendment Bill 2018.

The department responded on 17 August 2020 committing to accept the Ombudsman’s proposal to incorporate the Ombudsman’s preliminary issues of concern and proposed actions into the already planned review. The department further wrote to the Assistant Ombudsman on 11 September 2020 to confirm the commitment to undertake a broad review of the implementation and administration of vessel tracking, including a draft project plan for the delivery of the review.

The Ombudsman wrote to the department on 16 September 2020 to:

  • confirm that the investigation of commercial fishers complaints regarding the department’s administration of vessel tracking had been discontinued on the basis of the department’s agreement to undertake the broad review
  • inform the department he has advised complainants of both the decision to close the investigation, and the department’s agreement to undertake the review
  • accept the department’s project plan, which largely addressed the issues raised by his office.

As agreed with the Queensland Ombudsman, the department has established this engagement portal to enable visibility of project progress and allow stakeholders to submit comments and enquiries relating to vessel tracking and the review. In 2021, the department will establish the vessel tracking working group to initially advise on the safety review and other activities in the project plan scheduled for implementation in 2021.

Vessel tracking review reports

The department has prepared the following review reports in response to a number of the Ombudsman’s observations and proposed actions.

  • Vessel tracking data security
  • Vessel tracking provider platform login security
  • FishNet Secure breach

The reports can be downloaded under ‘Document library’ -> ‘Reports’.

Updated response to information request by the vessel tracking working group

An error was identified in the malfunction information published on 2 March 2022 in response to information request by the vessel tracking working group. The document has been updated and it can be downloaded from the 'Document library'.

Vessel tracking review progress update - April 2022

The department has updated the progress of the post implementation review (PIR) under the ‘Timeline’ tab and in the FAQ ‘What are the timeframes for the review?”. These timelines needed to be updated so that the department could consider the large volume of information obtained for the Consultation PIR Report.

Information request by the vessel tracking working group

Following the December 2022 vessel tracking working group (VTWG) meeting, Michelle Jensen (industry member) requested information on various vessel tracking issues relevant to the VTWG’s discussions to ensure transparency and address information gaps for industry members. The request for information was contributed to and supported by several other industry members of the working group.

Fisheries Queensland, in liaison with Anne Barclay, the VTWG Chair, has provided a response based on available information. View the response under ‘Document library’ of this webpage.

A communique about this information update is being uploaded onto the VTWG communique webpage (https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/sustainable/fishery-working-groups/vessel-tracking-working-group/vessel-tracking-working-group-communiques).

Vessel tracking unit malfunction interim procedure

Fisheries Queensland has developed an interim procedure in response to industry concerns raised during the vessel tracking review. The interim procedure enables fishers to apply to Fisheries Queensland for temporary permission to start a fishing operation if a vessel tracking unit has malfunctioned on a primary boat.

This interim procedure will operate from 17 December 2021 until June 2022 or until the vessel tracking post implementation review is completed.

View the interim procedure under ‘Document library’ of this webpage. Call 13 25 23 for information.

Vessel tracking review progress update - Dec 2021

The department has updated the progress of the vessel tracking review under the ‘Timeline’ tab.

Vessel tracking review progress update - May 2021

The department has published the progress update of the vessel tracking review. Check out the details under the ‘Timeline’ tab.

  • Establishment of vessel tracking review engagement portal and vessel tracking working group

    The vessel tracking review engagement portal (this webpage) was established in December 2020 to publish updates on vessel tracking review progress and to facilitate feedback. 

    The Vessel Tracking Working Group (“Working Group”), comprising industry members, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) employees and other government entities, was established in April 2021 following an expression of interest (EOI) process. The objective of the Working Group is to provide operational advice and recommendations to support the review undertaken by DAF on the management, implementation and administration of vessel tracking across commercial fisheries.  The Working Group is also the primary stakeholder group to provide feedback during preliminary consultation to assist DAF in preparing the Consultation Post Implementation Review (PIR) Report.

    The Working Group has had five meetings to progress the review. The Working Group meeting communiques are published on DAF website. See link under 'Useful Resources' in this webpage.

  • Review of unit and supplier selection framework

    Ombudsman report issues 1.3, 2 and 3

    The Standard Operating Procedure “SOP – Approval of vessel tracking units and providers” has been reviewed and approved to include internal audit recommendations, independent supplier checks and the Ombudsman’s proposed actions.

  • Development of unit and supplier performance management framework

    Ombudsman report issues 3.2 and 4.1

    A new Standard Operating Procedure “SOP – Performance management of vessel tracking units and providers” was developed taking into consideration recommendations from an independently executed internal audit and the Ombudsman’s proposed actions.

  • Development of vessel tracking complaints management framework

    Ombudsman report issues 4.1 and 9.1

    A new Standard Operating Procedure “SOP – complaints management and resolution” for the Vessel Tracking Team was developed in line with DAF’s Complaints Management Framework. A complaint register has been developed to record complaints.

  • Implementation of AIVR vessel tracking confirmation

    Ombudsman report issue 5.3

    The AIVR vessel tracking confirmation system was implemented in October 2020 to provide fishers an additional option to check and confirm that their vessel tracking units are polling. The AIVR system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Implementation of commercial fishing app with vessel tracking functionality

    Ombudsman report issue 5.2

    The Queensland eCatch app was released in December 2021. It includes functionality to check whether vessel tracking units are working and to manually report vessel positions if the units malfunction.

  • Review data privacy controls

    Ombudsman report issues 8.1 and 8.3

    Information on data ownership and sharing, and its governance was provided to the vessel tracking working group. Readiness review actions were implemented. A review report outlining the vessel tracking data security and controls is published and can be downloaded from 'Document library'.

  • Review of industry concerns about system issues, malfunction data analysis, audit of FishNet Secure and Option Audio access

    Ombudsman report issues 8.2

    A review report about the vessel tracking provider platform login security is published and can be downloaded from 'Document library'.

    Ombudsman report issues 8.4

    A review report about the FishNet Secure breach is published and can be downloaded from 'Document library'.

    Ombudsman report issues 2.2, 7.1 and 7.4

    The review has been drafted and is being reviewed.

  • Review of lessons from Option Audio experience – use of rebate funds

    Ombudsman report issue 4.2

    The report has been drafted and is being reviewed.

  • Development of vessel tracking business continuity plan

    Ombudsman report issues 5.1 and 5.3

    The business continuity plan for vessel tracking system, including daily vessel tracking confirmation text messaging service system has been drafted and is being reviewed.

  • Development of QBFP compliance communication protocol

    Ombudsman report issues 7.2 and 7.3

    Planning for this work has commenced. 

  • Safety audit of unit installations

    Ombudsman report issues 1.3 and 3.1

    Project outline was presented to the vessel tracking working group in early December and supported. Project to commence in 2022.

  • Post implementation review (PIR)

    Development of the PIR terms of reference

    The PIR terms of reference has been drafted and reviewed by the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR). The terms of reference was tabled during the first Vessel Tracking Working Group meeting for noting. The terms of reference can be downloaded from the document library in this webpage.

    Preliminary consultation to develop Consultation PIR Report

    Completed.

    Development of Consultation PIR Report

    Consultation PIR Report has been drafted and submitted to OBPR for adequacy assessment in April 2022. 

    Consultation PIR Report open for public consultation for a minimum of 28 days

    Initial proposed timeframe: January 2021

    Anticipated timeframe: May 2021 if Minister approves the release of the Consultation PIR Report.

    The timeframe has been shifted due to a delay in reviewing and finalising the Consultation PIR Report for submission to OBPR. 

    Development of Decision PIR Report

    Work will commence after public consultation. 

    PIR completed and published

    Initial proposed timeframe: June 2022

    Anticipated timeframe: December 2022