An app under the aegis of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has been developed to aid fishermen to increase their catch and reduce the cost of operations, the developers said.
Named [email protected], it is a mobile advisory service providing information related to the sea, with the app making fishing activities less expensive and environment friendly, the developers said.
The app provides information on Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ), sea surface temperature, weather and the presence of phytoplankton which form the food of several fish species.
The app consolidates these information and presents advisories in local languages, with easy to use icons on Java and Android mobile phones.
It has been developed by the Mumbai Research Centre of the CMFRI and materialised by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and the Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) under the National Agriculture Innovation Project (NAIP).
A study conducted by the CMFRI in 13 fishermen societies in Maharashtra found that the fishermen could save up to 30 per cent of fuel consumption with the help of this new app.
The reduction of the fuel consumption has benefits in terms of environmental impact where an estimated 1.2 per cent of global oil production is consumed in fisheries.
In addition, the app, which is a result of multi-dimensional research and field work of experts from the CMFRI, INCOIS and TCS, was adjudged among the 20 best Social Innovations in the country by the Ministry of External Affairs and NITI Aayog.
According to V.V. Singh of the CMFRIA, the information on the presence of potential fishing zone has helped fishers reduce unnecessary trips and the associated cost of diesel, ice and labour.
"This app also helps the fishermen to get to know the wind speed and direction, wave heights in a colour coded band helping them identify the unsafe regions in sea," said Singh.
Fishermen are advised to go only when the information map on the app is blue in colour and it predicts five days upfront forecast which will help even trawlers who go for multi-day fishing trips.
"Lack of data signal availability in deep sea was a major challenge for the fishermen. However, TCS and Tata Teleservices conducted a pilot to extend the mobile signal upto 30-km in the deep sea in Raigad district of Maharashtra. This helped the fishermen in price negotiations while they were in the sea itself and the fresh catch could be directed to desired port, optimising the overall transportation", he added.