The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued an Enforcement Advisory in connection with the marketing, sale or use of fishing net buoys that use radio frequencies reserved for marine navigation safety communications.
The Advisory notes that RF-enabled fishing net buoys are being marketed as devices that can mark and track fishing nets. However, these devices utilize frequencies reserved exclusively for automated identification systems (AIS) used to broadcast and exchange critical marine vessel information. FCC rules do not authorize AIS devices for use with fishing nets.
According to the Advisory, the devices, which are being advertised as “AIS Fishing Net Buoys,” “can have a serious detrimental effect on maritime safety, hampering situational awareness of maritime operators and endangering ships relying on AIS to avoid collisions at sea.”
The FCC Advisory reminds manufacturers, retailers and importers of AIS equipment and other marine equipment to familiarize themselves with all applicable FCC rules governing equipment authorization and to immediately cease advertising or selling AIS equipment that is not certified in accordance with FCC requirements. The Advisory also reminds parties that violations of FCC marketing and operating rules can serve as the basis for significant monetary penalties.