Lack of mobile connectivity for fishermen at sea a concern: experts

Many are unable to use apps designed for distress situations

The lack of mobile connectivity for fishers in the Bay of Bengal has been a cause for concern to the Fisheries Department and NGOs alike.

Many fishermen are unable to use mobile apps such as Fisher Friend and ‘Thoondil’ that can help in times of distress, said experts at a State-level stakeholder consultation on upscaling Fisher Friend Mobile Application (FFMA), organised by the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation on Wednesday.

Fisheries Department Director G.S. Sameeran said the department was in talks with telecom providers asking them to extend their coverage over the sea too. “There are lakhs of fishermen who are also their subscribers and they need connectivity to use such apps to ensure their safety. We have asked telecom companies to turn their coverage towards the sea too. At present, mobiles can be used only up to a few kilometres in the sea,” he said.

Agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan said like small farmers and forest dwellers who got their own space and rights following the Centre’s intervention, fishers too must get their due recognition. The tsunami taught coastal residents, including fishers, the importance of mangroves. “People had destroyed them in the name of tourism and development. But now efforts are being taken to protect them,” he explained.

Velvizhi, FFMA project head, said the application had even led to a behavioural change among fishers. “Many of them have shifted from trawling to hook and line fishing,” she said, adding that the app was available in nine languages.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 2:17:30 PM |

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