To ensure the safety of fishermen who venture out in the sea, the Kerala government has decided to install high-security registration boards with GPS (Global Positioning System) / GPRS (General Pocket Radio Service) facility on fishing boats.
The State Fisheries Department has implemented the project and it is looking after the complete protection and remote monitoring of the boats.
In an official statement, the fisheries department said that in the first phase, hologram registration boards will be installed on 300 boats.
Till date, such registration boards have already been installed in over 100 boats in Neendakara, Munambam and Kochi fishing harbours.
As reported by The New Indian Express, in the second phase, over 1,500 boats will be covered and subsequently, in the third phase, over 4,000 fishing boats across the state will be installed with the hologram registration boards. For installing boards at a subsidised rate, the state would take technical assistance from C-DIT (Centre for Development of Imaging Technology).
C-DIT is a unique institution under Government of Kerala with diverse skill sets and achievements in the areas of Imaging Technology & ICT and their applications.
The high-security registration board with GPS / GPRS networking installed on boats would enable locating and identifying deep-sea fishing boats. They are made up of materials that would not be damaged by saltwater in the sea. Apart from this, the boards also include laser systems to detect fake registrations.
For better identification and communication, a hologram registration board is situated on the top of the boat's wheelhouse as it brings a clear 360 degrees view. The officials said that this placement of the hologram board also avoids damage brought due to direct contact with saltwater and collisions between boats.
The square pyramidal structure of the high-security registration board could also withstand the rough climate or strong winds in rough seas. The hologram is attached to all four corners of the board.
By using the hologram registration board, crime and smuggling using boats could also be prevented by security agencies, said the officials.
As most foreign ships or boats entering the territory of the country pose threat related to illegal fishing activities. The high-security registration board for boats with GPS / GPRS networking has been developed taking into account all the threats at sea.
The fishing vessels usually stay in the deep sea areas with GPRS connectivity zone for a period of about 10-15 days.
As the lack of a communication network exists underwaters, the centralised monitoring system becomes unable to keep track of activities in the deep sea.
When such cases happen, usually the enforcement agencies including the Coast Guard, Coastal Police and Navy could monitor fishing boats only after using government-approved registration numbers.
In case any illegal activities are carried out at the national maritime border, the authorities will now be able to identify and investigate any unregistered fishing boats by finding the boats which are displaying fake registration numbers.
The bogus number on the boats could be identified quickly as the registration number and serial number and further could even be verified using a satellite-based communication device.