A Solution for a more Sustainable and Profitable fishing

We provide a tracking system for both small/open vessels (total length < 12m) and fishing gear. The system reduces the loss of fishing gear - avoiding plastic pollution and ghost fishing - while facilitating the obligatory process of reporting lost gear.

Low-power, long-range, and low-cost

This solution provides a maintenance-free equipment with long-lasting batteries and a small form factor.

LoRaWAN Communication

Based on the LoRaWAN protocol, the system uses the existing Azorean LoRaWAN network (under development).

Track bouys through sensors

Vessels and gear are followed through sensors added in vessels and buoys that collect positioning data.


This data facilitates the characterization of the fishing effort for more effective management of marine resources.


Provision of targeted information through warnings and alerts (sea conditions and bidirectional sea-to-shore messaging).

Fishermen’s increased income

This data will reduce expenses with the replacement of lost gear and provide real-time market insights to maximize sales profit.

About the project PT-INNOVATION-0100

How it started

The Portuguese authorities reported in 2019 that a major limitation of the current fishing monitoring system is the lack of tracking of small vessels.

The Continuous Monitoring of Fishing Activities (MONICAP) system (piloted in Portugal), and which operates based on satellite communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) is an expensive system to implement and run and, for several technical reasons (including energy consumption and size), it is not practical on small vessels and not applicable to buoys.

This implies that an important segment of the fishing fleet is not tracked at all.

According to Relatório Anual Frota de Pesca Portuguesa – 2019 there where 7768 fishing vessels registered and of those (representing the national gross tonnage):

Small vessels
Vessels total length > 12m
Example of a Buoy

This project starts with the need for a tracking system to be used in smaller vessels since existing systems are not technically compatible with these.

We provide a tracking system that is usable for small open vessels, allowing monitoring of fishing gear and its retrieval while facilitating the obligatory process of notifying lost gear to the authorities.

With Custodian, fishermen have access to the data about their own assets.


Areas of Intervention

The project, Custodian, aims at the development and pre-commercialization of three devices and a web platform from TRL 4 to 9, which effectively are a marine sensory network, thus directly addressing the following areas of intervention of the program:

● Development of innovative products/technologies and their application to the fishing ecosystem;
● Foster user-driven research-based innovation (TRL 4-9);
● Promote maritime digitalization;
● Deliver an environmental monitoring system;
● Promote cooperation between enterprises (4 SME) and research institutions;
● Enhance the collaboration between Portuguese and Donor State research institutions.

Direct Outcomes

Direct outcomes of the project are, in alignment with the program:

● A reduction in gear losses (a success rate of 50% would drive net income up by 5%);
● A reduction in the time/fuel spent looking for gear at sea;
● An increase in income through the informed choice of port based on real-time market information received on board (mostly applicable in islands);

● Custodian-Beacon;
● Custodian-Point;
● Custodian-Mesh;

● One patent application submitted (system as a whole);
● One trademark request submitted for the name of the system;
● Software code for Custodian’s open web platform;
● Scientific publications;
● Services created on top of the web platform contribute to the open-source community in public repositories;

● The work proposed entails the creation of three new jobs.


Who we are

A newly formed international consortium of companies leading innovation in their fields.

Funded by:

Working together for a green, competitive and inclusive Europe

Through the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are partners in the internal market with the Member States of the European Union.

As a means of promoting a continued and balanced strengthening of economic and trade relations, the parties to the EEA Agreement have established a multi-annual financial mechanism, known as EEA Grants.

EEA Grants are aimed at reducing social and economic disparities in Europe and strengthening bilateral relations between these three countries and the beneficiary countries.

For the period 2014-2021, a total contribution of €2.8 billion has been agreed upon for 15 beneficiary countries. Portugal will benefit from a sum of €102.7 million.

Operated by:




What the media says about us

Back to top