Gujarat fishermen equip their boats with GPS

     Fishermen in Gujarat’s Veraval region have now equipped their trawlers with Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Now, it would be easy to locate these trawlers on high seas and also warn the fishermen in case they wander into the territorial waters of other countries. After being installed on all the 12,000 fishing boats in the state, the GPS will help security forces to know the whereabouts of a boat and issue warnings. "It will help us locate the fishermen, who go into the sea and sometimes venture into international territory. In such cases the assiduous device, which is programmed to issue warnings, can help us locate them," said Prahladkumar Mehta, former Deputy Director of Fisheries, Veraval. With the aid of GPS, the fishermen will also know the prospective catch areas. "It is very helpful for us, it makes locating catch areas easy, as boats that find good catch areas can inform the others…we can go straight to the location and save on a lot of diesel," said Ramjibhaii, a fisherman. However, semi-literate fishermen are finding it difficult to read and understand GPS indicators, which are programmed in English language The Fisheries Department of Gujarat Government has plans to install fish finders in about 9,400 boats. In fact, out of 3000 boats in Veraval, Sutrapada and Mangrol, 80 percent are already equipped with GPS system The Government has decided to equip all boats with GPS in order to avoid numerous instances of Indian fishermen being held captive by neighbouring countries like Pakistan or Sri Lanka after they wander beyond the international borders.

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