Fishermen body seek PM intervention to digitally modernise sector

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on September 30, 2020 Published on September 30, 2020

Seek support to create futuristic solutions such as e-commerce transactions on high seas

Seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to bring an end to their decades-old hardships on high-seas, fishermen from Gujarat have demanded digital solutions and modern communication technologies for their fishing trawlers and boats.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Tulsibhai Gohel, President, Boat Owners’ Association at Veraval informed that the fishermen community has remained neglected in adoption of modern technology for their livelihood. “Even if the world of communications have dramatically changed in recent years, fishermen continue to remain untraceable when they go high-seas for a catch. They have no communication system in case of an emergency or an accident. This we have brought to the notice of the Prime Minister and sought his intervention to end this decades-old plight,” he said.

Quoting a Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) report, the association stated that the Covid-19 lockdown had put the economy of marine fisheries sector into crisis inflicting a daily loss of ₹224 crore.

Seeking futuristic solutions of opening newer avenues such as enabling e-commerce transactions at seas, the Association requested the Prime Minister to create an enabling environment for the community by enhancing safety, technology and increasing the productivity. “Through 2–way data systems, it is now becoming easier to send fish location data to fishermen at sea to ensure better supply and demand matching, while allowing fishermen to access markets and transact at sea to maximise the value of their catch.”

Gohel added that the 1,600-kilometer long coastline of Gujarat is important from the national security point of view. “If the fishermen are equipped with the modern communication systems, or SOS data capability, they can be helpful to security agencies in keeping a vigil in the Indian waters,” said the representative of Kharva Sanyukta Machhimar Boat Association.

Currently, the fishing boats are equipped with GPS and depth-finder equipment and basic communication device. But beyond 15 nautical miles, they become ineffective and the fishermen become untraceable.

Gohel added, “Our vessels and fishermen are routinely apprehended by neighboring countries; Pakistan detaining 49 of Gujarat Fishermen on September 15th is only the latest such incident. We take great pride in our mission of feeding India, and risk our lives every day to do so we are in need of urgent government intervention to keep us secure.”

The fishermen from Veraval in Saurashtra, usually go upto 200 nautical miles in the high seas for catch. There are about 25,000 trawlers including 12,000-14000 Out Board Motors (OBM). The sector employs about two lakh fishermen directly with an annual export of ₹5,000 crore.

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Published on September 30, 2020
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