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Unusually Fishy Business for VCT

Daily Cod catch may not be the average discussion topic for a midlands-based technology company but for VCT in Kettering, Fish Quota Management has become the sole topic of conversation.

Kettering, United Kingdom, August 16, 2008 --( A joint application by the Eastern England Fish Producers Organisation (EEFPO) and the Yorkshire Humber Seafood Group (YHSG) has seen this Software Development Company nominated within the Technical Innovation of the year category at the annual Fishing News awards. The Awards, to be held at the Balmoral Hotel in the heart of Edinburgh on the 31st October 2008, will see VCT judged on their QMS application; a data and catch management system developed on behalf of the EEFPO and YHSG.

The System was initially developed as a tool for the Producer Organisations (PO) to manage their internal contacts and members’ catch information, providing more timely and accurate data with full audit trails. Following discussions between EEFPO Chief Executive Officer Nikki Hale and environmental agency CEFAS it became obvious that in the longer term the QMS application would provide important historical records of quota allocation and catch; providing a clearer picture of stock levels and sustainability for scientists.

Chris Mizon, Operations Manager at VCT said: “It has been a real eye-opener for me to see how little there is out there to manage and monitor this crucial information. VCT will provide up-to-the-minute empirical information for the PO’s to take to DEFRA, the Government and EU. The initial brief was to ease the PO’s data handling, however it is obvious to all involved that this is really a first stage and now it is the longer term benefits to the British Fishing industry as a whole that will be the key importance of QMS.”

It is this element of the system that has led to its award nomination. Having accurate and up-to-date data on global quota positions and more efficient trend analysis, will greatly aid forward planning. Nikki Hale believes the system will ensure the full value of historical data is realised; restoring confidence in the British Fishing stocks, especially in the North Sea.

Mrs Hale Said: “At the moment some of them (fish processors and retailers) have a policy of not buying NS-caught fish because they will only accept information available within the public domain, such as ICES stock assessment data. We want to restore the confidence of the processing sector to buy locally-sourced produce.”

The application has the potential to reduce the chances of breaching quota which in turn supports the management of differing species stock levels and ultimately maintains the livelihood and future of many small fishing communities. Major fishing communities such as the Scottish, Irish and Spanish government and the British Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have all shown an interest in the QMS system.

Carl James, project manager for the Yorkshire and Humber Seafood Group said of QMS: “Previously, fishermen had limited knowledge of what fish had been landed and what they could legally continue to catch whilst out at sea. The new system provides a quick and efficient solution, cutting down on waste and giving the fishermen a realistic method of fishing responsibly without losing time or money.”

QMS is available as both an online and offline application, and is tailored by VCT for the individual PO’s specific needs. Access to the system is via secure log-in allowing PO members to sign-in to the online version anywhere they can access a web browser. PO’s will be able to react to system alerts, notifying members by phone or email as they near quota limits and take more immediate action to source quota top-up.

Contact Information
Danielle Tonet
0870 2401237

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