News

Creating transparent fisheries management system through implementing UN/FLUX

11.10.2019

Finestmedia was chosen to deliver the global e-solution FLUX (Fisheries Language for Universal eXchange) locally in Estonia.

This case study highlights the successful collaboration with the European Commission, the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs and other EU member states to bring significant changes in safeguarding fisheries thanks to a digital transformation.

“Thanks to this common platform, our administrators have a clear overview of fishing data. All the data exhanges (and validation) is visible with the user interface, glitches are reported automatically and reporting has been made very flexible for the administrators in charge.” 

Keno Kaasiksoo, Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs

Challenge

The UNECE reports that “illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for one-fourth of all fish catches and costs a staggering $23 billion to legitimate fishers every year. This threatens fish stocks, ocean biodiversity and the economic security of fishing communities.”

The United Nations set out to fight this significant problem by creating an initiative called the Fisheries Language for Universal eXchange or UN/FLUX. The European Commission was at the forefront of adopting it and leading the charge of implementation and has worked in close cooperation with EU countries and non-EU countries to develop the FLUX standards in order to exchange fisheries information in an effective, transparent and efficient manner.

Finestmedia was chosen as the trusted IT Solutions & Consulting enterprise to lead the implementation in Estonia at the start of 2018 by the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs. Although the project is ongoing, the implementation is already a success as Estonia has been among the first member states to effectively adopt the FLUX standards.

Strategy and Solution

Finestmedia agreed on a partnership deal to not only deliver the FLUX Transportation Layer, but to improve the overall IT architecture related to the Estonian fisheries.

United Nations Fisheries Language for Universal eXchange UN/FLUX
United Nations Fisheries Language for Universal eXchange UN/FLUX

This has meant parallel development of and/or improvements of the following systems:

  • PFR - Professional Fisheries Register that maintains data about fishing opportunities, fishing licenses, fishing diaries, fishing activities (ERS data), sales data and enables reporting via a web interface.
  • FFR - Fishing Fleet Register that maintains data about fishing vessels and their capacities.
  • ERS, ERS2 - client application that transmits fisheries reports (departures, catches, discards, landings etc) during fishing trips, from fishing vessels.
  • PERK - mobile Android application for the local fishermen operating with smaller boats (inshore and inland fishing).

The reformed and modern IT architecture helps to deliver on the goal of creating an effective, and transparent fisheries management system that is integrated to the European information system through FLUX in a holistic manner.

The development was carried out in iterations, with agile principles and included:

  • Migration from older DEH-based communication channel to the FLUX TL exchange layer.
  • Implementation of fishery domains: Fishing Activity (FA), Sales, Vessel, ACDR, VMS, MDR.
  • Updating data structures and the business logic in order to comply with the FLUX TL standard.
  • Improving the Fleet Register functionality to enable it for the Vessel domain.
  • Configuring FLUX server and monitoring data transmissions.
  • Analysing and improving the process of allocation fishing opportunities (based of fishing licence application, historical fishing rights) and issuing fishing licences
  • Analysing and improving various (ERS-related) reports: licenses, catch quota, fishing capacities, cross-checking report, catch vs sales analytics, etc.
  • Developing a new free fishing capacity module for Fleet Register to automatically manage fishing capacities.
  • Upgrading and improving mobile PERK application and the fisherman fishing diary functionality for the local fishermen.

Transformation

A key part in this project has been effective communication among international stakeholders. Finestmedia was one of the early adopters of FLUX and helped the development team at the European Commission to deliver on the ambitious goals of this project.

The project team at Finestmedia worked together with Finnish partners, who were implementing FLUX for Finland. This collaboration was important in helping to test and establish the crosscultural communication functionalities required for FLUX. It has led to multiple breakthroughs for sustainable fishing and has simplified fishing surveillance.

For example, in every 10 minutes the boat positioning information is exchanged automatically between Estonia and Finland. Also as a fishing carriage crosses the international border between the two countries, encrypted data exchanges over FLUX and information about the fishing carriage and its complete fishing trip data is passed over to the other country automatically.

Implementation of FLUX to improve cross-nation transparency and to safeguard fisheries has been a crucial milestone. However, this project is still ongoing to carry out even further changes to automate monitoring for the local government and simplify life for the local fishermen.


Ministry of Rural Affairs of Estonia is responsible of planning and implementation of rural policy, agricultural policy, fishing industry of the fisheries policy and the trade policy of agricultural products, the organisation of ensuring food safety and compliance, the coordination of the activities related to animal health and protection and plant health and protection, the organisation of agricultural research and development and agricultural education and the preparation of corresponding draft legislation. The Ministry of Rural Affairsis accountable to the Government of the Republic. The Ministry is headed by the Minister of Rural Affairs, who is appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister.