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CMFRI Opens New Regional Research Centre in West Bengal

CMFRI Opens New Regional Research Centre in West Bengal

  • Centre to offer research for development of marine fisheries of Bengal and Odisha 
  • Conservation and sustainable harvest of Hilsa fish prime focus

The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has opened a new regional research centre in Digha, West Bengal with an aim to fulfil the research and development needs for the marine fisheries in West Bengal and Odisha. This is the 11th regional research centre of the CMFRI, the largest fisheries research institute in the country under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

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Research on Hilsa

The centre will primarily focus on assessing the important commercial marine fish stocks of the West Bengal including Hilsa, a popular fish variety in the region. At a time when the availability of Hilsa is showing a drastic decline in recent years, the CMFRI centre will focus on research activities for the conservation and sustainable harvest of the fish species developing effective resource management practices.

The centre will provide advisories to the Bengal and Odisha governments on the optimum number of fishing vessels and the option for management of fish stocks in the State by way of regulations.  Regular monitoring of marine landings and assessment of fish stocks will be carried out under the centre to help the State in managing the marine fish resources of the region ultimately benefitting the fishermen. The mariculture technologies of commercially important fishes developed by the CMFRI will be popularised and promoted in the State in tune with environmental and geographical aspects of the region.

Dr J K Jena, Deputy Director General (Fisheries) of ICAR, who was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony, said the new research centre in Digha is aimed at catering to the need of marine fisheries research of the State and generating livelihood for the coastal fisher folk. “Though sporadic research has been carried out on the marine capture fisheries and mariculture in West Bengal and parts of Odisha, a focussed approach is lacking. It is with this intention the ICAR-CMFRI has opened a new research Centre in the State”, he said.  “CMFRI has been developing fisheries management plans for each maritime state. The management policy guidelines are being designed in such a way that helps in scientific management of marine fisheries for each state”, he said.

 Estimates on potential yield, optimum fleet size and optimal combination of engine power and craft size will also be major contributions from the Centre to the State. Climate change issues affecting coastal habitats and fisheries could more efficiently be addressed by the new Centre. 

The Digha Centre will also conduct capacity building and awareness programmes on conservation and management of fish resources to improve the livelihood of the fishermen community.

The other 10 Regional Research Centres of CMFRI are located in Mandapam, Chennai, Mangalore, Mumbai, Tuticorin, Visakhapatnam, Calicut, Karwar, Vizhinjam and Veraval.

Training programme

A training programme on marine cage culture was conducted at the Centre in collaboration with the West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences. A total of 54 fish farmers and fishermen from various associations of East Midnapur district participated in the training programme. The engineering and economic aspects of cage farming operations such as cage design and fabrication, operations and the policies for the farming were educated among the participants.

ICAR-CMFRI develops GIS-based database on fishing centres in India

ICAR-CMFRI develops GIS-based database on fishing centres in India
Database handed over to Indian Navy to ensure security of fishermen at sea

In a major development in ensuring security at the sea, the ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has developed a GIS-based database about the marine fish landing centres along the Indian coast. Aimed at ensuring the safety and security of the fishermen at sea, the ICAR-CMFRI prepared the inventory of all the fish landing centres in the country, describing their GIS (Geographic Information System) location, types of fishing activity, seasonality of fishing and the extend of fishing operations from each fishing centres. The institute handed over the database to the Indian Navy in order to make the security measures in coastal regions easier.

Dr. A.Gopalakrishnan, Director, ICAR-CMFRI handed over the document to Vice Admiral  A R Karve AVSM, Flag officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command in a meeting held at the office of the Southern Naval Command, Kochi.

The database is expected to be a major development towards ensuring safety and security of fishermen and monitoring intrusion into Indian territorial waters from neighbouring countries. Details of traditional landing centres and modern fishing harbours have been included in the database, which was prepared by a group of scientists from the ICAR-CMFRI, upon the request from the office of the Southern Naval Command, Kochi as part of strengthening efforts in ensuring the safety of fishermen at sea.

Dr A P Dineshbabu, Principal Scientist at the Mangalore Research Centre of ICAR-CMFRI coordinated a research team comprised of 22 scientists and 85 other staff to prepare the inventory. The information about the landing centres and operational area of fishing will be useful in efficient marine spatial planning of various activities in the sea by protecting the security and livelihood concerns of the fisher folk along Indian coast. This document forms a part of an exhaustive collection of database documented by ICAR-CMFRI, for bringing all fishing activities and fishery resource information of Indian coast in GIS format. 

The team collected information on 1,278 landing centres along the Indian coast spanning all maritime States (Gujarat, 129; Maharashtra, 149; Goa,34; Karnataka, 93; Kerala, 201; Tamil Nadu, 359; Andhra Pradesh, 204; Orissa,54 and West Bengal,55).

The database, providing an in-depth information base regarding fishing activities along Indian coast will help for marine spatial planning in any development activities in the coastal region without impacting the livelihood issues of the coastal population.  

According to Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director of ICAR-CMFRI, the institute has a special interest in GIS based documentation of the marine fish landing centres since they are the reference points for mapping marine fisheries resources along the coast and such mapping will serve as the basic data for the fisheries conservation and management.

The geo-tags of marine fish landing centres is also crucial work in facilitating national security. Fishermen can be considered as soldiers in the sea because they are constantly moving in and out of the sea scouting for fish at the same time observing some unscrupulous activities if any. The document with the spatial tags of fish landing centres developed by ICAR-CMFRI will help the Navy, the Coast Guard and other security agencies in the disaster management as well.

CMFRI handing over the database to Indian Navy 

Honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi Appreciates ICAR-CMFRI's Mobile App technology for Fishermen

Honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi Appreciates ICAR-CMFRI’s Mobile App technology for Fishermen

Honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi has appreciated the mobile advisory service, mKRISHI®Fisheries, developed by the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).

In his Mann Ki Baat address on February 26, 2017,  the Prime Minister termed the technology as innovation for poor fishermen and went on to say that the mobile App is simple but with a powerful impact on fishermen community. He further said the mobile App could be utilised by the fishermen for moving to those areas with maximum fish presence in a very short time and thus earning their livelihood.

“When a fisherman goes to sea, the App is able to provide guidance to direction to locate the most productive fishing zones and also provide multifarious types of information such as the direction and speed of the wind, the height of the waves and so on”, the Prime Minister said.

mKRISHI®Fisheries App provides information on Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) generated by INCOIS, sea surface temperature, weather and the presence of phytoplankton which form the food of several fish species based on the remote sensing data received from NOAA and Indian satellites.

The app consolidates these information and presents advisories in local languages, with easy to use icons on Java and Android mobile phones. In addition, the app, which is a result of multi-dimensional research and field work of experts from the ICAR-CMFRI, INCOIS and TCS, was adjudged among the 20 best Social Innovations in the country by the Ministry of External Affairs and NITI Ayog.

The technology had won a place in the prestigious National Contest on Social Innovation 2016 hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs along with NITI Ayog. The app was listed among the 20 top social innovations selected from a total of 774 applications.  The ICAR-CMFRI has already piloted this service in 56 fishermen societies in Maharashtra.

The App is widely being used among the fishermen to plan their fishing activities. The information on the presence of potential fishing zone has helped fishers reduce unnecessary trips and the associated cost of diesel, ice and labour. Fishermen are advised to go only when the information map on the app is blue in colour.  The app will predict five days upfront forecast which will help even trawlers who go for multi-day fishing trips.  

Lack of data signal availability in deep sea was a major challenge for the fishermen. However, TCS and Tata Teleservices conducted a pilot to extend the mobile signal upto 30 km in the deep sea in Raigad district of Maharashtra. This helped the fishermen for price negotiation while they were in the sea itself and the fresh catch could be directed to desired port, optimizing the overall transportation.  

The ICAR-CMFRI, in collaboration with TCS, is planning to reach out to more fishermen societies under Mera Gaon Mera Gaurav (MGMG) initiative. 

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