Steps are under way in the districts of Kannur and Kasaragod to expedite a State-wide scheme for issuing bio-metric identity cards to fishermen as part of efforts to step up coastal security.

The process of collecting data from those enrolled in the official list of fishermen in this region has already started in the two districts by the regional office of the Kerala Fishermen Welfare Fund Board, according to officials there.

As per the original plan, fishermen in the State will be issued bio-metric identity cards in December.

The identity card was going to be an important document for a fisherman, the officials said, adding that once the scheme was complete, Coast Guard personnel would not allow anyone to fish without the biometric identity card.

The scheme for issuing biometric identity cards for fishermen in the State has been launched as part of a directive by the Ministry of Home Affairs' to keep vigil along the coasts in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

All the coastal States and Union Territories have agreed to collect the basic data of fishermen through their respective Fisheries Departments.

The data will be digitised to be used in the identity cards.