Projects to track small fishing vessels along India’s coast makes progress

Source: The post is based on the article “Projects to track small fishing vessels along India’s coast makes progress” published in The Hindu on 15th November 2022

What is the News?

As part of coastal security measures instituted post-26/11 Mumbai attacks the Indian government has instituted a project to install transponders on small fishing vessels under 20 metres in length. After much delay, the project was now underway in Tamil Nadu.

About the project to install transponders on small fishing vessels

The process of installing transponders on sub-20 metre boats commenced with a pilot project in Tamil Nadu for 5,000 vessels.

Features of the transponders: To allay the concerns of fishermen, the transponders with positioning navigation systems have been modified into a two-way communication system.

Need: There are close to three lakh registered fishing vessels of which around 2.5 lakh are under 20 metres.

What are the other important initiatives taken to improve India’s coastal security?

An Automatic Identification System (AIS) was made compulsory for all vessels above 20 metres after the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Online ReALCraft (Registration and Licensing of Fishing Craft): Through this, verification and monitoring of a large number of Indian fishing vessels is carried out. This information is available to the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.

Biometric identity cards: These biometric identity cards have been issued to the majority of fishermen. The maritime security agencies through the composite card readers enable biometric verification of the identity of fishing vessel crews at sea.

Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative: It was announced by the Quad grouping at the Tokyo summit in 2022. It is a part of overall efforts for Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) on the high seas.

The initiative will track “dark shipping” and build a “faster, wider, and more accurate maritime picture of near-real-time activities in partners’ waters.” Further, the initiative will also integrate three critical regions in the Indo-Pacific – the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

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