A district-level awareness workshop on INCOIS services for fisherfolk covering Ocean State Forecast (OFS) and Marine Fishery Advisory Services was held on February 1st, at the Fisheries Department in Tuticorin district, Tamil Nadu. This programme was jointly organised by MSSRF and The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (ESSO-INCOIS), Hyderabad.
More than 97 fishers from 24 fishing villages participated in the programme and interacted with MSSRF and INCOIS scientists discussing various services offered by INCOIS and its dissemination strategies. Stakeholders from the Fisheries Department of Tamil Nadu, coastal security police, Dean of Tamil Nadu Dr. J. Jayalalithaa Fisheries University, scientists from ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), and Sagar Mitra scheme staff also participated in the meeting and shared their views.
Recommendations from the discussion
Feedback emerged for the future plan of action from both INCOIS and MSSRF. These included:
- Need for new product development to improve dissemination strategies
- Craft-specific advisory to avoid death and injury during disasters
- Species-specific forecast on commercially important species like Carangids, Seer fishes etc., and
- Integration of traditional knowledge in scientific forecasts.
Also, fishers requested for a new method to disseminate High Wave Alerts since these are currently being disseminated through a state zone-wise (North Tamil Nadu and South Tamil Nadu) disaster alerts. The fishers suggested that a district-specific disaster alert would be more preferable. Furthermore, requests for a change in the interval time period (from six hours to one-three hours) of OSF updates to improve its accuracy were also made.
The workshop, a product of the collective efforts taken by MSSRF and INCOIS, served as an example for the need to address the issue of small-scale fisheries. Furthermore, it also prompted the need for the issue to be addressed nation-wide through government departments. Fishermen appreciated both organisations to connect the fishers through digital technologies like the pan-India Fisher Friend Mobile Application (FFMA) and requested that continued service for the benefit of smallscale fishers in the country.
Dr S Velvizhi, Head, Fish for All Research and Training Centre, MSSRF, gave an introduction to the programme. The Special Addresses were given by Mr Amal Xavier, Joint Director of Fisheries, Fisheries Department; Mr Prathaban, Deputy superintendent of police, Coastal security group; and Mr Venkatachalam, Tahsildar, Disaster Management.