Localised weather warnings add to general forecasts to make fishing activities safer, say researchers

‘Small grid forecasts allow fishers to launch and land boats at secure spots, fish close to the shore, avoid high-wind ocean areas and quickly return when the weather turns foul’

Published - May 12, 2024 07:31 pm IST - KOCHI

Localised marine weather information complements official general forecasts to make traditional fishing activities safer, says a study by a team of researchers from the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), India Meteorological Department (IMD), and the University of Sussex, the United Kingdom.

Weather information downscaled for grids of 5 km x 5 km — with localised forecasts issued for 25 km x 25 km area — can effectively complement official forecasts that are usually meant for large segments of the coastal waters, says the open-access paper published online in Weather, the flagship journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, the U.K.

“Small grid forecasts allow fishers to launch and land boats at secure spots, fish close to the shore, avoid high-wind ocean areas and quickly return when the weather turns foul,” said Abhilash S., director of the Cusat Advanced Centre for Atmospheric Radar Research (ACARR), one of the authors of the paper. “Availability of such forecasts can limit the number of fishing days lost to blanket warnings that may not be relevant to local areas where fishers go,” said Dr. Abhilash in a statement here.

IMD senior scientist V.K. Mini, ACARR researcher M. Sarang, Sussex climate researcher Netsanet Alamirew and Sussex visiting research fellow Max Martin are the other authors of the paper led by Prabhat Kurup.

“Ocean basins, especially the eastern Arabian Sea, are warming rapidly due to climate change. This warming affects the lives and livelihoods of traditional artisan fishers and the coastal communities,” he said. “Weather systems such as cyclones and deep depressions are becoming more intense; so, the fishers have to take more risks. The most effective solution is to include them in a localised, community-orientated, impact-based forecasting system and co-produce weather information.”

The study said Thiruvananthapuram, home to around 50,000 seagoing fishermen, had witnessed 145 deaths of fishers on the job between 2016 and 2021 and another 146 caught in the very severe cyclonic storm Ockhi in November 2017. Fishers have been demanding better forecasts.

The study highlighted the diverse wind conditions prevalent on India’s southwestern coast. The wind regime along this coast is diverse, with the speed increasing towards the south in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. “That would call for localised, sub-regional and cross-state-border wind forecasts that are highly relevant for artisanal fishers,” the paper said.

The paper is an outcome of the Sussex-led safe-fishing research forecasting with fishers in Thiruvananthapuram district. The research was supported by the U.K. Research and Innovation, Sussex Sustainability Research Programme and the Royal Geographical Society.

An earlier paper had highlighted a trend of intensifying storms over the eastern Arabian Sea. The paper co-written by IMD Director-General meteorology Mrutyunjay Mahapatra had called for impact-based and localised reliable weather services. Impact-based forecasts inform what the weather will do, not just what the weather will be like.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.