The Odisha government’s fisheries and animal resources development department in collaboration with MS Swaminathan Research Foundation has developed a customised ‘Fisher Friend Mobile Application’ aimed at alerting fishermen on the ‘No-fishing zones’ declared for the olive ridley turtle conservation.
The mobile application was launched on Friday. The fishermen will not enter the nesting sites of the endangered olive ridley turtles after getting alert on their mobiles.
A ban on fishing within 20km from specified coastal areas, will come into effect from November 1 to May 31, 2022, for protecting the nests of the endangered olive ridley sea turtles.
Launching the mobile application here on Friday, fisheries & animal resources development minister Dr Arun Kumar Sahoo emphasised the commitment of the state government in the conservation of the endangered olive ridley turtles.
“This mobile application will not require any cellular coverage network and will work in offline mode in the outer sea which will help in alerting the fishing boats to stay away from the fishing ban areas where the turtles congregate for mass nesting,” said Dr Sahoo.
Each year, the olive ridley turtles congregate near the Dhamara river mouth, Devi river mouth, Rushikulya river mouth and along the Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary for mass nesting.
The fishermen and the boat crewmembers can download this offline mobile application freely. They can clearly know the GPS locations and the boundaries of the no-fishing zones.
The mobile application also has additional features for providing fishing boats with near real-time information regarding weather, potential fishing zones, ocean state forecasts, disaster alerts and other information provided by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System (INCOIS), which will further strengthen the safety and security of the fishermen, while at sea.
This free mobile application will benefit more than 22,000 of fishing boats including trawlers, motorised and non-motorised boats which are plying from various fishing harbours and fish landing centres involving over 1.50 lakh active marine fishers.
A central monitoring unit would be installed in the office of the chief wildlife warden for the monitoring of the movement of the fishing boats and for awareness generation activities.
Secretary, fisheries and animal resources development department R. Raghuprasad, principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Sashi Paul and other top officials attended the launching ceremony. Fishermen and officers of the fisheries department from 11 locations in the state joined the launching programme through video conferencing.