PARADIP: Directorate of Fisheries will enter into an agreement with MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai to develop a mobile map application feature to protect the designated fishing ban areas and turtle nesting grounds along coastal Odisha which will also promote improved safety of fishermen.
The Fisher Friend Mobile Application (FFMA) app, successfully put to use in various coastal states of the country, is free to download and also enables fishermen to know GPS location of their fishing boats registered in ReAL craft under OMAFRA. The fleet owners and crew members can download the application in their mobile phones and know their geo-coordinates to keep away from notified fishing ban area of Bhitarkanika Wildlife sanctuary, Devi, Dhamara and Rushikulya river mouths designated for Olive Ridley conservation.
The application has brought relief to the fishermen community. “Before venturing into the sea, we used to be apprehensive of losing direction in mid sea. This will facilitate proper navigation and help in rescuing other fishermen who get marooned in mid sea due to rough weather,” said 37-year-old Susant Manna, a traditional fisherman of Sandhakuda in Jagatsinghpur,
Manager of Fishing Harbour, Paradip Manoranjan Mohapatra said the department received suggestion of the director, Fisheries department on Wednesday to increase awareness about FFMA. “We have decided to engage one team to increase the visibility of the app through village level meetings, one-to-one interactions, and announcements through public address systems for the successful implementation of the State-specific feature,” added Mohapatra.
Despite the Orissa High Court order of March 16 this year that the Fisheries and Animal Resources department should upload the boundary of Gahirmatha marine sanctuary along with its geo-coordinates in GPS software of all fishing boats so that their movement in sea can be recorded, only 100 out of 559 trawlers are using GPS systems. “ Hence the department has planned to install transponders on all boats in Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts,” said Additional Director of Fisheries (Marine), Kujang Manas Ranjan Sahoo.