IT in Fishing
Harvesting the high seas
Technology and fishing? The image that pops up is most likely
of a fisherman listening to weather reports on the radio. However, there is
more to technology in fisheries than this. by Anil Patrick R
If the picture of a fisherman hauling nets filled with catch
is your idea of technology (or its absence) in fishing, think again. There is
a lot of computing power and technology that works behind the scenes to ensure
that a fisherman gets his catch.
Firstly, todays fisherman is as comfortable with technology as anyone
else isin fact, more so than many. It is quite common to see fishermen
in Kerala and the rest of the country using cellular phones and technologies
such as GPS (Global Positioning System). While GPS helps them chart their way,
cellular phones help them finalise prices with buyers before reaching the shore.
It is interesting to learn that technologies such as this have been around since
While this is the scenario at the users end, technology has conquered
the backend as well. IT is being used in fisheries for conducting marine research,
predicting catch, identifying potential mariculture sites, biotechnology research
for aquaculture, and so on.
Mapping The Ocean
One of the biggest uses of IT in fishery is in estimating Indias marine
fish catch. IT plays a major role in this since mathematical and statistical
modelling applications are used here.
Established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Agriculture in
1947, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) is at present
a member of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. The institute uses
data collected from the Indian coastline (extending from Gujarat to West Bengal)
to predict fish catch. Data is collated and centrally processed to estimate
yield at the CMFRI headquarters in Kochi. Software developed in-house is used
for fish stock assessment. We found that we are able to come out with
marine fish-catch estimates much faster with the help of IT. It is extremely
beneficial since we have to estimate fish yield on a region-wise basis (four
regions across India) every month, informs Prof M J Modayil, Director,
CMFRI uses Geographic Information Systems to identify potential mariculture
sites. IT is also used to drive routine official tasks such as e-mail and payroll
management. According to Dr M Srinath, Head & Principal Scientist, FRA Division,
CMFRI, Work is also being done on biotechnology. This includes studies
on delineation of stocks using IT.
Currently, CMFRI is in the process of connecting all its centres to its headquarters
using leased lines. Once this project is complete, the institute will be able
to come up with results even faster. Since the institute is involved in projects
such as the National Marine Fisheries Census, it is looking to this network
to provide a significant boost when generating research reports and profiles.
Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE) is a fisheries university (deemed)
that uses IT for quantitative genetic analysis. The application is used for
statistical analysis of breeding data.
CIFE is involved in fisheries research where quantitative genetic analysis
is required. The biggest problem that the institute faced was the inability
to handle and analyse with high levels of precision the large amounts of breeding
data generated. At present, CIFE uses the SAS Analyst module to do research
data analysis and quantitative genetic analysis.
Anil Patrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org