Mail: qdnr@quinault.org   Phone: 1-360-276-8211 x7001

Vessel Monitoring

Quinault Vessel Monitoring Program

Quinault Vessel Monitoring Program | Quinault Resource Enforcement Department
Boats lined up on the Westport marina

The Quinault Vessel Monitoring Program believes that a fishing vessel monitoring system (VMS) is a cost-effective tool for the successful monitoring of ocean treaty fisheries activities. VMS provides the Quinault Division of Natural Resources with accurate and timely information about the location and activity of regulated fishing vessels. VMS is a general term to describe systems that are used in commercial fishing that allow enforcement to track and monitor the activities of fishing vessels. This system is first one of its kind implemented on the west coast of the U.S. and Quinault Indian Nation is at the forefront.

VMS is a fisheries program in which equipment that is installed on fishing vessels provides information about the vessels’ position and activity. This is different from traditional monitoring methods, such as using surface and aerial patrols, on-board observers, logbooks or dockside interviews. The VMS allows the Quinault Resource Enforcement Department to use the latest technologies to monitor compliance, track violators, and provide substantial evidence for prosecution.

Quinault Vessel Monitoring Position Reports

Quinault Vessel Monitoring Program | Quinault Resource Enforcement Department
Boats lined up on the Chehalis River near the entrance to Aberdeen

The system on each vessel records data and video once it leaves the dock and this data is later downloaded for processing. The software automatically alerts the Quinault Vessel Monitoring Program technician when a particular vessel leaves open fishing locations, lifts someone else’s gear, fails to scan gear, or operates too close to other fisherman’s gear.  This might require additional inquiry or contact with the vessel operator.

VMS is used to support law enforcement initiatives and to prevent violations of the laws and regulations of the Quinault Indian Nation. VMS also helps enforcement personnel focus their patrol time on areas with the highest potential for significant violations. It is used as evidence in the prosecution of many laws and regulations including pot thefts and can provide proof that state fishermen were responsible for thefts or violations by showing that the tribal fishermen’s vessels were not in that area. The system was used successfully to prove where pots were stolen from on the ocean.

VMS systems are used to improve the management and sustainability of the marine environment, through ensuring proper fishing practices and the prevention of illegal fishing, and thus protect and enhance the livelihoods of fishermen.

Quinault Vessel Monitoring Program Transformative

Quinault Vessel Monitoring Program | Quinault Resource Enforcement Department
The Westport marina has many Quinault tribal boats that are always monitored

The Quinault Vessel Monitoring Program is going to be transformative. It will really change the way we manage Quinault fisheries because we can see what’s happening instead of just trying to envision what’s out there on the water. We will know, and therefore, we can make smarter decisions. Right now commercial fishers know that no one can actually see where they are and what they’re doing. And many of them abide by the rules, but many of them do not. We are going to change that, because now somebody can be watching, purely and simply. We can see what they are doing and that’s going to make a big difference for fishing on Quinault waters.


Resource Enforcement Manager, Jared Eison  »  360.276.8215 x7540

Vessel Monitoring Technician, Gerry Dan  »  360.276.8215 x1056

Resource Enforcement Sergeant, Harry Butler  »  360.276.8215 x1057


Additional Quinault Vessel Monitoring Resources:

Quinault Resource Enforcement Department

Quinault Wildlife Enforcement Program

What is Vessel Monitoring? (Wikipedia)

Vessel Monitoring System Program (NOAA)

Recovering Derelict Vessels