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Monday, Mar 18, 2002

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Information kiosk set up to aid fishermen

M. Somasekhar


TO aid fishermen in coastal States, space scientists have succeeded in identifying chlorophyll (food for fishes) as another key factor in the pooling up of fishes.

If the sea surface temperature in coastal waters are low, the chances of finding a congregation of fishes is high. These places are now spotted by satellites and relayed to the fisherfolk as potential fishing zones.

The net result is that, with the satellite data pointing at PFZs with a combination of lower temperatures and high concentration of chlorophyll, fishermen can look forward to an increase in catch.

Using the NOAA satellite network to arrive at the sea surface temperature of coastal areas and the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite Data (IRS-P4) for chlorophyll tracking, space scientists are planning to give out alternate day forecast on PFZs to help fishermen, according to Dr K.R. Radhakrishnan, Director of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, here.

To make this vital information available, INCOIS has hit upon a novel idea of setting up information kiosks, that will be a one-stop place to get useful inputs to make fishing safer and more economically-lucrative.

Machilipatnam in coastal Andhra Pradesh along with Ratnagiri in Maharashtra are two places where these kiosks are being set up on an experimental basis by INCOIS, an autonomous body under the Department of Ocean Development (DOD).

An electronic display board, which would be part of the kiosk, would provide the PFZ forecast on alternate days. In addition, wind and wave information and other educational points would be highlighted on a regular basis, Dr Radhakrishnan told Business Line. The kiosk at Machilipatnam would be giving out a bi-lingual forecast data — in Telugu and English. A dedicated telephone line has been established at INCOIS here to update data on a daily basis. With Andhra Pradesh having a large fishermen community, an improved and frequent PFZ data should be a boost, he said.

INCOIS has received strong support from the Andhra Pradesh Department of Fisheries in the project. A series of awareness-cum-interactive meetings in the coastal towns of Kakinada, Machilipatnam, Nizampatnam and Vijayawada have been jointly organised with the participation of fisherfolk, local politicians, scientists and officials, he said.

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