Bhubaneswar: Nilakantha Malik, a marine fisherman from Bhadrak district, is a pleased man today. He along with around 1,000 fishermen in the coastal Chudamani area have seen a jump in their catches as well as increased income, thanks to a mobile-based information service on fishing.
“Earlier, we did not get much benefit from fishing. We did not know about the proper process and went about catching fish blindly,” of fishing. We were doing the business blindly,” said Nilakantha, a resident of Sasubhuasuni village.
But things changed for the better once The Reliance Foundation Information Services (RFIS) entered the scene. “Reliance Foundation provides valuable information on potential fishing zones (PFZ), where we can get good catch. It offers us the exact locations with GPS coordinates 24 hours in advance. Now we are doing the business systematically,” the 48-year-old fisherman added.
Besides prime fishing locations, RFIS also forecasts wind speed, wave height, cyclone and other weather related information sourced from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad. The information is relayed information through mobile voice messages.
“Earlier, we faced the risks of sudden change in weather and boat capsize. But now, Reliance Foundation provides information about the sea condition for the next two days. It helps us to decide whether it is safe to venture into the sea for fishing or not,” he said.
There are other benefits too. “The GPS tracking helps save fuel and time. Our income has also increased. Around 1000 fishermen have benefited with the help of the RFIS information,” said Nilakantha, who is the secretary of the Trawler Owners’ Association in Chudamani area.
Odisha has a 485-km-long coastline and thousands of traditional fishermen eke out a living by venturing into the sea for fishing in country made and engine boats. After agriculture, fishing is the second largest source of livelihood in the area.
The Reliance Foundation Information Services (RFIS) initiative is working along the Indian coastline, helping more than one lakh fishermen.