Now a mobile app to net data on fish-catch

The process of getting fish-catch data related to inland fisheries is expected to get revolutionised with the development of a mobile-based application. The simple mobile app has caught the attention of the scientific community as it involves fishermen, who are the main stakeholders, in collection of the fish-catch data instead of the normal practice of involving officials.

The app, which has been developed by the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI), is being used on a trial basis to get details of fish-catch in Karnataka.

M. Karthikeyan, senior scientist in the CIFRI’s Hessarghatta centre, who has developed this android app, told The Hindu that it is being used on an experimental basis in Tunga reservoir in Shivamogga and Manchanabele reservoir in Ramanagaram district for nearly a year.

Presently the process of getting the fish-catch data involves physical visits by scientists or officials to the water bodies. “But there is no authentic fish-catch data, especially on continuous basis, for the inland water bodies. This is because of the huge number of water bodies, their distant location and the difficulty in last-mile connectivity,” he points out. What has further complicated the task is the severe shortage of manpower in the government establishments to make such visits.

“The mobile app takes care of these obstacles. The process of using the app is so simple that a fisherman can be trained in using it within 10 minutes,” the scientist notes.

The CIFRI has identified a few fishermen and women who can read, write and send the data. They have been designated as “Fishery Friends” who will upload the data on the mobile phone on the different types of fish caught in the water bodies assigned to them. All that they have to do is to type the numbers against the names of different fish varieties. As soon as the uploading of data is done, it is automatically recorded in the central server.

“The feedback has been good so far. In fact, the fisheries’ friend in Manchanable is a fisherwoman, who is the secretary of the local fisheries association, who has been handling the responsibility well,” he says.

The institute is presently giving them a monthly honorarium for helping it with the fish-catch data. “We will take up surprise visits occasionally to cross check the data. What is impressive is that we have been able to get the data instantaneously at very economical cost as the visits of officials and scientists earlier was involving huge expenses,” he points out, while adding that the mobile app was thought of as smart mobile phones had become widely available even among fishermen.

The CIFRI will take a call on extending this mobile app-based data collection to other parts of the country after studying the pilot project for some more time and after fine-tuning it, he says.

Trained fisherfolk are paid an honorarium to upload data