Feb 22, Colombo: State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dilip Wedaarachchi has taken steps to introduce a special software for the controlling of illegal activities including drug smuggling using fishing boats.
The new software was introduced to the owners of the fishing trawlers recently and they have interest in the program.
With the introduction of this new software, there is no need for any forms which are currently required to be filled by the fishermen before set sailing to sea. The fishermen, for some time, have voiced their opposition to filling forms and pressured the authorities to abolish the requirement. The new software will provide a solution to the fishermen's problem.
At the same time, when a vessel is about to leave the port, the software provides information to the Department of Fisheries, Navy and Coast Guard on the vessel, its occupants, and accompanying items, equipment etc.
According to the information provided, authorities will be able to ascertain whether the information given on the team in the vessel match the data and whether they are genuine fishermen. Based on the data, the authorities in a very short time can either give permission for the vessel to sail or to halt the journey.
The software also can accurately locate a vessel once it is at sea and Minister Wedaarachchi said this capability to locate the vessel is of vital importance to the fisher folk, especially in cases of emergency.
The Minister of State said that the software provides the capability for the fishermen to connect to digital trading centers from their location to set prices and sell their fish harvest while engaging in the fishing activities.
The program will provide the fisher community with necessary information such as weather forecasts, as well as information on the fish prices for the consumers and information on the Fisheries Ministry and its affiliated institutions.
The program has the ability to access information on fish markets as well as information on fish quality and also has the capability to identify and provide right information on a species of fish from an image.
State Minister Wedaarachchi said he expects to make the software available for the general public to download and access in the future.