SAFARI symposium considers weather warning system for Indian fishermen
In the wake of Cyclone Ockhi, which hit India in December 2017, causing extensive damage and resulting in the deaths of hundreds, a special session at the international symposium on Societal Applications in Fisheries and Aquaculture using Remote Sensing Imagery (SAFARI) discussed ways to improve the weather warning system for Indian fishermen
The three-day event, which was organized by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), took place in Kochi, Kerala state, from 15 to 17 January, 2018.
State Fisheries Minister J Mercykkuttyamma inaugurated the special session at the SAFARI symposium. Fishermen, experts from Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), scientists from the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service (INCOIS), and officials from the Department of Fisheries analyzed the efficacy of the system and proposed required amendments for improving the facility, CMFRI said in a statement.
“The session will [create] a platform where the scientific and fishermen communities [can] share their views and suggestions for boosting…communication mechanisms to reduce the calamities following the natural disasters like Ockhi,” CMFRI Director A Gopalakrishnan said before the event. “Fishermen, who really are at the receiving end of such disasters, will have a set of suggestions out of their experiences they are going through. The [meeting will] help gather inputs from different stakeholders to make the system more effective.”
The session also tackled issues related to the conflicts between fishing vessels and other ocean-focused industries. Gopalakrishnan said he hoped the discussions would help resolve conflicts over congestion in sea routes and protected areas. Gopalakrishnan added that improving the technology that helps fishermen is an important goal, but merely getting fishermen to use it is a larger problem.
"It is quite evident that many of forecasting facilities are not directly reaching out to the targeted community,” Gopalakrishnan said. “The mobile app services for weather forecasting, ocean states, and potential fishing zones are not successful in Kerala, as majority of the fishermen in state are unaware of the weather-forecasting services provided by many agencies.”