A new world record in LoRaWAN connection distance was set by trackers on the fishing boat Estrela de Sesimbra and buoys on the Sesimbra coast in Portugal. The tracker was able to contact a gateway in the Canary Islands, and multiple messages have been received by the “cablpa-pitilleros” gateway connected to The Things Stack Community Edition.
Nuno Cruz reports that the trackers were installed by the team of the Custodian project, led by Solvit with members including FIT/ISEL (where Nuno Cruz is a researcher), AirCentre DOCAPESCA, LOTAÇOR, NTNU, UAVISION, and TERINOV. The project is funded by the EEAGRANTS Blue Growth Programme. The program addresses Portuguese authorities' concerns that a major limitation of the current fishing monitoring system is the lack of tracking of small vessels.
The LoRaWAN-based project is an alternative to the Continuous Monitoring of Fishing Activities (MONICAP) system, which was piloted in Portugal, operating on satellite communications and the Global Positioning System (GPS). However, it's an expensive system to implement and run, and for several technical reasons, including energy consumption and size, MONICAP isn't practical on small vessels and not applicable to buoys.
According to Relatório Anual Frota de Pesca Portuguesa, in 2019, there were 7,768 fishing vessels registered, with 87% being small vessels. The tracking system is usable for small open vessels, allowing for monitoring of fishing gear and its retrieval while facilitating the process of notifying the authorities of lost gear.
With Custodian, fishermen have access to the data about their own assets, reaching extended distances with LoRaWAN at sea level. This in contrast to the majority of The Things Stack-operated devices, which range between 25 and 100 meters (75 to 300 feet) from the gateway. STMicroelectronics' STEVAL-STRKT01 LoRa IoT tracker was used, which implements the latest technologies in IoT tracker applications such as asset, people, and animal tracking, as well as fleet management.
Thanks to the STM32L072CZ embedded in the Murata CMWX1ZZABZ-091 LoRa module, the STEVAL-STRKT01V1 makes it possible to acquire position, managing geofence and data logging from Teseo-LIV3F GNSS module and monitoring motion (LIS2DW12) and environmental (HTS221 and LPS22HB) sensors. It also transmits and receives data, configurations, and events to and from the cloud over a LoRaWAN network, or stores data locally in the M95M02-DR EEPROM.