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Tool to help improve fish harvesting

Using remote sensing, the Coimbatore-based Sapience Softwares has developed a fish-forecasting model aimed at tackling problems related to fish stock assessment.

Although Sapience has taken the lead in this part of the country in developing this model, the application is not new. The system was put in use in the US nearly three decades ago.

The application, apart from having a tremendous effect on commercial fishing in the US, is understood to have reduced search time of the fisherfolk by 25- 40 per cent. The fishing industry in most parts of the world utilises the remote sensing data on a daily basis.

“It is a very powerful tool employed for the optimal use of fishery resources, including detection of potential fishing zones, in aiding research and in improving the economics of fishing by increasing the ratio of fish catch to time spent,” Mr Satish Menon, CEO of Sapience Softwares, told Business Line.

“We have a long coastline — about 8,041 km. Over 5.95 million people are dependent on fisheries for their livelihood. Nearly 70 per cent of the catch is marketed fresh,” he said and pointed out that by using information from remote sensing data, fishermen would be able to locate their target without much strain and could reduce the time spent at sea as well.

For obtaining maximum benefit, the satellite data should be analysed in conjunction with all other available data in an integrated GIS. The data obtained in the process could be passed on to fisher folk and other fishing agencies to promote scientific methods of fish harvesting.

He indicated that the Union Territory of Pondicherry offered good scope for putting to use this remote sensing technique, considering its strategic location. Mr Menon said that the maps and statistics devised from high-resolution satellite data could be used in accurate zoning for fish harvesting, updating nautical charts, localising sea resources, apart from assessing existing aquaculture activities.