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Satellite to help track fishing trawlers in Bay

FE Report | September 10, 2019 00:00:00

The state-run Department of Fisheries (DoF) is looking to initiate tracking of the country's fishing boats and trawlers by the Bangabandhu-1 satellite using an automatic information system (AIS).

The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MoFL) has already inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Ltd (BCSCL) to obtain the automatic connectivity facility for tracking the fishing trawlers and boats.

Under the MOU, the BCSCL will develop a vessel tracking and monitoring system (VTMS) for the country's fishing trawlers and boats, said the MoFL joint secretary on blue economy, Md Towfiqul Arif, on Monday.

The BCSCL was established on August 10, 2017 to perform activities after launch of the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, including controlling the satellite from the ground stations, its marketing and sales services. The system would help save at least around Tk 50 million annually, said an official of the fisheries department.

He said an agreement with a Japanese firm on providing automated information services to the country's fishing trawlers and boats expired in December last year.

After expiry of the agreement, Bangladesh Navy and coastal guards are currently helping the fisheries department in tracking the trawlers and boats.

When contacted, a senior official at the fisheries department stressed the need for developing the vessel tracking and monitoring system at a cost within the expected limit that conforms to the limited budget of the fisheries department.

"We are now working on collecting necessary hardware and software to facilitate tracking of offshore trawlers," said the fishing department official.

Sources said the BCSCL had been looking for potential clients to provide connectivity through automatic systems since its inception.

In July last year it inked a similar MOU with the Ministry of Shipping to provide the connectivity to around 39,000 ships in the Bay and the inland ports.

With the help of the satellite, the country's ships and vessels navigating the country's rivers and seas would be able to maintain communication with each other and prevent accidents, help them when needed, gain uninterrupted access to internet, watch televisions and enjoy other telecommunication facilities, he said.

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