The Odisha Government on Friday, November 5, launched a mobile called 'Fisher Friend Mobile Application' to help conserve the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles. The app will send alerts to fishermen nearby, telling them not to venture into the no-fishing zones. Specified areas of the Bay of Bengal, such as the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, have placed a ban on fishing from November 1, 2021, to May 2022, in a bid to save the reptiles from going extinct.
With this app, the state authorities aim to not only look after the Olive Ridley Turtles but also provide necessary information to the fishermen such as potential fishing zones and alert them ahead of an impending natural disaster. It can be downloaded for free and used without any cellular network to cater to their needs in the outer sea
Facilitating The Conservation Process
The mobile application was launched by the state's Fisheries and Animal Resources Minister, Dr Arun Kumar Sahoo. Along with him, the department's top brass such as R Raghuprasad (Secretary), Sashi Paul (Principal chief conservator of forest) and other officials of the said department from 11 locations joined the event virtually. Quoted by The Telegraph, Sahoo stated that the app will benefit over 22,000 fishing boats, that includes trawlers, motorised and non-motorised boats. A total of 1.5 lakh active marine fishers can use this
He told the news publication, "The mobile application will not require any cellular coverage network and will work offline mode in outer sea which will help in alerting the fishing boats to stay away from the fishing ban areas where the turtles congregate for mass nesting." The turtles converge at various areas such as the Dhamara river mouth, Devi river mouth, along the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary and Rushikalya river mouth for mass nesting every year.
With this app, the fishermen will get the GPS location indicating the boundaries of the no-fishing zones. Along with that, they will give the necessary information to the fishing boats about current weather, disaster alerts, potential fishing areas, ocean state forecasts. This will be provided by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System.
Decline in Turtles' Mortality Rate
For quite some time now, Odisha has been working diligently towards saving the Olive Ridley Turtles on their coast. A significant decline was seen in their mortality rate as 2,575 carcasses were found at their nesting site in 2020-21, compared to a whopping 6,320 in 2019-20. Earlier this year, the Odisha High Court asked the government to place a fishing ban at the mouth of River Devi to preserve this species. With effect from November 1, the mobile application is expected to do wonders when it comes to conserving the Olive Ridley Turtles and leaving them undisturbed in their habitats.