Fishing boats in Vizag to be fitted with GPS
All fishing boats in the district will be fitted with tracking devices (Global Positioning System) by the department of fisheries in the next two months.
Visakhapatnam: As over 60 per cent of motorised fishing boat at least 30 per cent of mechanised fishing boats in Visakhapatnam district are yet to comply with safety measures, all fishing boats in the district will be fitted with tracking devices (Global Positioning System) by the department of fisheries in the next two months.
A total of 676 mechanised fishing boats and over 3,000 motorised boats are registered with the department of fisheries in Visakhapatnam, with large numbers of fishermen regularly venturing into the sea.
GPS, life jackets, lifebuoys, distress alert transmission system (DATS), very high frequency (VHF) communication system, navigation lights, a fishfinder device and other equipment are required safety items on fishing boats in case of emergencies. Over 60 per cent of motorised boats, however, lack GPS and other lifesaving equipment, and at least 30 per cent of all mechanised boats are yet to be equipped with life jackets and lifebuoys.
Speaking to TOI, assistant director of the fisheries department, Visakhapatnam, P Lakshmana Rao, said that the department has issued guidelines for fishermen safety as coastal Andhra Pradesh is prone to cyclones. “Tracking fishing vessels during cyclones remain a real challenge so we are chalking out plans to introduce a tracking system in the coming days,” he said.
Meanwhile, the AP government has decided to extend the diesel subsidy to all registered boats in the state, at Rs 6.03 per litre and applicable upto 3,000 litres per month for mechanised boats and 300 litre for motorised boats. Lakshmana Rao said, “We have to be able to track the activities of the boats, whether or not they use the subsidy. In the coming days, all boats have to be equiment at a subsidised price.” The government will bear 75 per cent of the cost.
Sources in fishing industry said that over 25 accidents were reported in the last fishing season and 10 people lost their lives at sea due to lack of proper safety equipment.
Pointing out that some boat owners are yet to install safety equipment, president of the Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association, Ch Satyanarayana Murthy, said they have decided to pay 25 per cent of the amount for procuring the subsidised equipment.
Though the cost of all fishing boats combined in Visakhapatnam Fishing Harbour is over Rs 300 crore, none of the boats is insured. The high premium of various marine insurance scheme is another concern for boat owners. The minimum annual insurance premium for a mechanised boat is Rs 1.5 lakh.
“We are also trying our best to find out low premiums for boat insurance as the fishermen do not get any compensation if their boats suffer damage due to bad weather,” said an official with the department of fisheries.