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1. Category

This category is to be used only for photos of commercially operated fishing vessels.

Photos of vessels used for personal recreation purposes will not be accepted.

PLEASE DO NOT UPLOAD TO the category titled FISHING VESSELS OR TO the subcategory titled NEAR SHORE FISHING VESSELS. All images there will be distributed to the Subcategories defined below
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2. Subcategories

Detailed criteria and photo examples for each subcategory can be found at the end of this FAQ Vessels new subcategories#256
Use Research Source data below. Mention that source in the Description


1.1 Stern trawlers (with slipways) including oceangoing shell dredgers.

1.2 Beam trawlers / dredgers.

1.3 Purse seiners (including pelagic trawlers without slipways and industrial trawlers).

1.4 Netters, longliners, trollers ocean going (70 feet / 21m and over)

including Inshore trawlers, small shrimpers, Danish/Scottish seiners, netters, longliners, jiggers and trollers



8. OVERVIEW – FISHING FLEETS (can be any number of vessels)
Photos which include more than one fishing vessel.
If all the vessels in the photo are not fishing vessels, upload to the Shipping category

the "Reefers in support of the Fishing Vessels at Sea" subcategory has been discontinued from 16 April 2019, and all transport reefers (as evidenced usually by Equasis or similar) will be moved to the general Reefer category, and other vessels redistributed as appropriate. Please do not add further photos to this subcategory


the "Fisheries Research and Support Vessels" subcategory has been retitled on 16 April 2019 as "Research, Support and Processing vessels", intended to cover all ancillary fishing related service vessels

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3. Required


- Include as much data as known about vessel type, area of operation, target catch, nationality, dimensions, history, etc.

- Show research sources for information to assist other members compile their research sources


- Comply with the requirements of the Upload a new photo page

- In the Title Box, enter the name of the vessel, followed (if known) by the official fisheries registration number.

- In the IMO Number Box, enter any IMO number found. Check for this before or during uploading
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4. Research

Use Links to photo examples mentioned in detailed criteria below. See Vessels new subcategories#256

For general research as to types of fisheries and gear, try
See example under Trollers below


See German Fishing Registrations -

The following may be interesting.
See also links from that site

Web sites for ship owner/operator, if known
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5. Site
Standards that apply to all Photos


We have site standards to ensure that the Shipspotting site maintains its focus on good images of ships themselves. In addition to these general standards, some categories have specific variations. Please use the Forum to raise any queries, or contact us at [email protected]

1. Size of image: The resolution must be between 768 x 1024 (or 1024x768) pixels and 10000 x 10000 pixels, files have to be jpeg format. Please make sure that the size you select to post will show a photo that is sharp at the maximum size it will visible on the site. Members should be constantly aware of the limitations of their cameras. Preferably the aspect ratio (width x height) should not be below 3 to 1, to give a view that corresponds to the dimensions of normal screens (viewfinder or computer).

2. Sharpness: Images must be sharp. In a sharp image, names, windows, cranes and other ship details will be clear. Moderate digital enhancement for sharpness is acceptable, but the image must remain sharp in at least one of medium/full screen/original sizes on a screen of at least 280mm. It is accepted that older images, processed from prints, negatives or transparencies may not be as sharp as modern digital photographs, although also in may cases digital photographs will benefit from sharpening

3. Exposure: All images should be appropriately exposed to show the ship clearly, and without large white or black areas. Silhouettes are not accepted.

4. Level: The horizon must be level and verticals should appear so. The image should be straightened where necessary. Some inclination for verticals at the edges of a photo can be allowed.

5. Distortion and enhancement: Photos taken with fish eye or other lenses that produce distorted images are not allowed. Black-and-white images are accepted only if that was the original medium; similarly for colour images. All manipulation of digital images should maintain a “natural” contrast and colour. For further guidance on digital enhancement see

6. Full ships only: For all views except those specifically for part-ship categories, bows, sterns and masts should not be cropped. Bow and stern shots are acceptable if they show the vessel from the waterline to the top of the superstructure.

7. Obstructions: Foreground obstructions should not restrict the view of the ship. Equipment and other vessels that are associated with the normal working of the ship (such as container cranes, tugs or bunkering barges) are acceptable provided they do not dominate the image. For ships alongside quays, the whole length of the ship should be in sight.

8. Main subject: The ship must be the main subject. Distant views where the ship is a small part of the image are not accepted.

9. People: The incidental presence of crew, passengers or shore workers in normal activity (ie not posed) is acceptable. Photographs showing people in the foreground, or others that may invade personal privacy, are not permitted.

10. Borders and watermarks: New digital images should not have added borders. Scanned historic images may retain a border provided it is unobtrusive and not decorative. Watermarks are acceptable provided they are discreet and do not impinge on the ship image. QR electronic codes are not permitted.

11. Small boats: Unless in use by the shipping or fishing industries or public authorities, small boats of less than 20 metres/65 feet in length are not accepted.

12. Multiple photos: When posting multiple photos of the same vessel taken on the same Date, the submission must be restricted to a maximum of 4 photographs with a significant change of Aspect/Angle between the photographs.

13. Date and location of photo: These must be included in the Description, if not added from the Location and Date of photo menus on the Upload page.

14 Old photos or negative scans from members archives must comply with Site Standards. Scratches or other blemishes should be removed, which may require the use of more advanced software.


There are no site standards specific to this category

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6. Detailed
criteria for subcategory identification

Definitions here are mainly from Wikipedia and LRF. They may be useful for identifying the subcategory for the subject of photos.

1.1 Stern trawlers (with slipways) including oceangoing shell dredgers.

Look for trawling gear deployed and retrieved from the stern.

Photos of Inshore trawlers including small shrimpers and Danish/Scottish seiners should be uploaded to subcategory 5 below.

Larger stern trawlers often have a ramp, though pelagic and small stern trawlers are often designed without a ramp. Stern trawlers are designed to operate in most weather conditions. They can work alone when midwater or bottom trawling, or two can work together as pair trawlers.

Bear in mind that there is a separate category for thoroughbred pelagic trawlers without slipways in subcategory # 3

1.2 Beam trawlers / dredgers.

Look for sturdy outrigger booms for towing a beam trawl, one warp on each side.

Photos of Inshore trawlers including small shrimpers and Danish/Scottish seiners should be uploaded to subcategory 5 below

Double-rig beam trawlers can tow a separate trawl on each side. Beam trawling is used in the flatfish and shrimp fisheries in the North Sea. They are medium sized and high powered vessels, towing gear at speeds up to 8 knots.

1.3 Purse seiners (including pelagic trawlers without slipways and industrial trawlers).

Look for booms or a slewing deck crane which hauls the seine net.
Other indicators are Net guides, net layers triplex haulers and fish pumps.

Photos of Inshore trawlers including small shrimpers and Danish/Scottish seiners should be uploaded to subcategory 5 below

Seiners circle a shoal with a deep curtain of netting, using bow thrusters for better maneuverability. Then the bottom of the net is pursed (closed) underneath the fish shoal by hauling a wire running from the vessel through rings along the bottom of the net and then back to the vessel

European seiners - have their bridge and accommodation located more to the after part of the vessel with the working deck amidships.
American seiners - have their bridge and accommodation placed forward with the working deck aft.
Drum seiners - have the same layout as American seiners except a drum is mounted on the stern.
Tuna purse seiners - are large purse seiners, normally over 45 meters, equipped to handle large and heavy purse seines for tuna. They have the same general arrangement as the American seiner, with the bridge and accommodation placed forward. A crows nest or tuna tower is positioned at the top of the mast, outfitted with the control and maneuver devices. A very heavy boom which carries the power block is fitted at the mast.

1.4 Netters, longliners, trollers ocean going (MORE THAN 70 feet / 21m)

Seine netters. Look for nets and winches.

There are three basic types.

Anchor seiners Have the wheelhouse and accommodation aft and the working deck amidships, thus resembling side trawlers. The seine net is stored and shot from the stern, and they may carry a power block. Anchor seiners have the coiler and winch mounted transversally amidships.

Scottish seiners Basically configured the same as anchor seiners.
The only difference is that, whereas the Anchor seiner has the coiler and winch mounted transversely amidships, the Scottish seiner has them mounted transversely in the forward part of the vessel and uses engine power for remaining stationary while heaving instead of an anchor.

Asian seiners In Asia the seine netter usually has the wheelhouse forward and the working deck aft, in the manner of a stern trawler. However, in regions where the fishing effort is a labour intensive, low technology approach, they are often undecked and may be powered by outboards motors, or even by sail.


These use one or more long heavy fishing lines with a series of hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks hanging from the main line by means of branch lines called snoods.

Hand operated longlining can be operated from boats of any size. The number of hooks and lines handled depends on the size of vessel, the number of crew, and the level of mechanization. Large purpose built longliners can be designed for single species fisheries such as tuna.

On such larger vessels the bridge is usually placed aft, and the gear is hauled from the bow or from the side with mechanical or hydraulic line haulers. The lines are set over the stern.


Look for two or four trolling booms raised and lowered by topping lifts, held in position by adjustable stays.

Example above under + Line vessels in Research Resource listed above

These catch fish by towing astern one of more trolling lines. A trolling line is a fishing line with natural or artificial baited hooks trailed near the surface or at a certain depth. Several lines can be towed at the same time using outriggers to keep the lines apart. Purpose built trollers are usually equipped with two or four trolling booms raised and lowered by topping lifts, held in position by adjustable stays.

5. Fishing vessels with LOA LESS THAN 70 feet / 21m

This includes Netters, longliners, jiggers, inshore trawlers, trollers, trawlers, Seiners

6. Crab / Lobster / Pot boats

Look for pots/traps stored on deck

These are used to set pots or traps for catching fish, crabs, lobsters, crayfish and other similar species.

Trap setters range in size from open boats operating inshore to larger decked vessels, 20 to 50 meters long, operating out to the edge of a continental shelf.

Small decked trap setters have the wheelhouse either forward or aft with the fish hold amidships. They use hydraulic or mechanical pot haulers.

Larger vessels have the wheelhouse forward, and are equipped with derricks, davits or cranes for hauling pots aboard.

7. Whalers & Sealers

Whalers. Look for Harpoon gun mounted on the bow and/or ramps/slipway at stern, and black painted band around crows nest

These are specialized ships designed for the catching and/or processing of whales. At first, whale catchers either brought the whales they killed to a whaling station or factory ship anchored in a sheltered bay or inlet. Later, with the development of the stern slipway, whale catchers brought their catch to factory ships operating in the open sea.

Sealers. Look for crows nest without black band.

Sealers are vessels in various sizes which act as a base from which the hunt for seals are conducted. They are in most cases sturdy vessels that can operate in ice conditions. Many of these vessels also has a crows nest. In Norwegian waters a sealer can be distinguished from a whaler by the absence of a black band around the crows nest.

8. OVERVIEW – FISHING FLEETS (can be any number of vessels)

Photos including more than one fishing vessel.

If all the vessels in the photo are not fishing vessels, upload to the Shipping category

10. Live fish carriers

Look for Fish tanks, fish pumping equipment.

A vessel for the carriage of live fish in water tanks

11. Fisheries Research Vessels and Fishing Support Vessels

Fisheries management draws on fisheries science in order to find ways to protect fishery resources so sustainable exploitation is possible. Modern fisheries management is often referred to as a governmental system of appropriate management rules based on defined objectives and a mix of management means to implement the rules, which are put in place by a system of monitoring control and surveillance.

The political goal of resource use is often a weak part of the system of fisheries management, as objectives can conflict

Use Research Source data. Mention that source in the Description

Fishery Research Vessel.

A vessel for research into fish stocks and conservation.

The vessel may catch fish for scientific purposes, such as research into marine life and the ecosystem on the bottom in the sea etc.

Fishery Support Vessel.

A vessel for supporting fishing activities

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