| Fishermen in action in the sea off Puri coast. Telegraph picture |
Bhubaneswar, July 3: The fisherman of Odisha can now avail of a mobile phone alert service on fishing practices and weather forecast.
A mobile phone alert service for fishermen was launched today jointly by National Federation of Fishermen’s Co-operatives Limited and IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL).
Moreover, a one-day workshop on empowering the fishing community through mobile phone alert services was also conducted here today. Nearly 125 fishermen from four districts took part in the workshop and received training on how to take advantage of the new service.
The system will enable the fishermen to avail information related to fish production and conservation, weather forecast, availability of marine fish, market price and various government schemes meant for them.
The fishermen will have to purchase a SIM from a cellular phone operator, who has been tied up for the project, and the service operator will send both text messages and voice messages to the fishermen. Sources said the messages would be sent in local language, so that the fishermen could clearly understand it. Around five messages will be sent everyday.
In the first phase, four districts — Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Khurda — and the Chilika lake will be covered under the project on a pilot basis. The scheme is expected to benefit nearly 37,000 fishermen in these districts. The service includes fishermen working in the inland and marine water systems.
“The fishermen are unable to maximise their catch in this emerging sector because of lack of awareness. But, with the mobile text message service they will be able to get updates about fishing practices. Once the project gets the intended results, we will expand it to other parts of Odisha,” said managing director of the co-operatives B.K. Mishra.
Sources in the co-operatives said that of the 1,000 registered primary fishermen co-operative societies in Odisha, only 475 were in operation. The fishing industry engages more than 10 lakh people.
“Most of the times we are not aware of the fishing zones where we can get the maximum catch. The new system will help us locate these zones apart from getting other benefits,” said a fisherman, who took part in the workshop.
In 2007, the IKSL, a subsidiary of fertiliser major IFFCO, had launched a mobile phone alert service for farmers of Odisha.