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Horta ,  April 08, 2015

Government of the Azores conducts first tests with drones to supervise fisheries and monitor the marine environment

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology stated Thursday that new technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, will play an "increasingly important role" in inspection and surveillance activities of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Azores.

Fausto Brito e Abreu spoke during a visit to Porto Comprido near the Capelinhos Volcano, where the Government is conducting tests with drones that will be used for fisheries control and monitoring of the marine environment in the Azores.

The tests now started, which will be conducted this year throughout the archipelago, fall under the Regional Government's strategy to provide the Regional Fisheries Inspectorate with high-end technological means to improve its operation on the ground.

"Unmanned aerial vehicles are a great tool to support the inspection and control of fishing activities, while allowing the collection of monitoring information on the archipelago's marine environment," defended the Regional Secretary.

According to Brito e Abreu, "the performance of an unmanned aerial system is a decisive asset for the success of such missions and has more advantages in terms of operational costs, compared to the use of traditional naval and air means."

The Regional Government coordinates its monitoring actions with the Maritime Police, the Navy and GNR (National Republic Guard). Given the size of the maritime area of the Azores, the intervention time of the available means is the most important variable in this type of operations.

The project is led by the Regional Fisheries Inspection in collaboration with Maritime Authorities and GNR, and in partnership with the Portuguese company Tekever.

The first tests with drones, which began Tuesday, were presented to a delegation of Members of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee, who are visiting the Azores.

The Regional Fisheries Inspection and the company Tekever submitted a joint application to the European Economic Area Grants programme (EEA Grants) for the adaptation of unmanned air systems to surveillance missions and monitoring of marine protected areas of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Azores.

This application is part of a wider Research and Development partnership that was established between the Portuguese technological group and the Regional Government of the Azores, through the Regional Fisheries Inspectorate, with the aim of promoting the use of these means in surveillance missions to control fishing activities and monitor the environment, particularly in the marine protected areas of the archipelago.
The planned operation include surveillance missions of fishing activities in protected areas; detection and monitoring of environmental disasters in the marine environment, such as the spill of pollutants; support to scientific studies, including the monitoring of the air or sea water parameters and detection and monitoring of wildlife migrations.
They may also support research operations in marine environments through the collection of experimental data from sensors installed in the sea.

The application now submitted to the EEA Grants programme provides an implementation period of about a year and a half.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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