The European Commission proposed to ban Sri Lankan seafood exports in October 2014, due to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The ban went into effect from 13 January 2015. Sri Lanka is the second biggest exporter of fresh and chilled swordfish and tuna to the EU with Euro 74 million of imports in 2013. Sri Lanka has lost a market of approximately US$ 100 million due to the ban. According to the European Commission, we are not complying with international rules on legal fishing and our existing monitoring control systems are inadequate.
According to the European Commission guidelines, keeping track records of high sea fishing vessel and catch detail reporting is one of the major requirements. Track record verification, catch data verification and certification process are also important. Currently, the ministry of fisheries uses a paper based manual mechanism to fulfill above requirements. University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) collaboratively worked with Department of Fisheries to propose an appropriate ICT solution. The proposed ICT solution is based on a tablet computer which act as an electronic logbook. It addresses the most important issues and supports to avoid IUU fishing. However, it is mandatory to maintain a fairy accurate logbook.
The proposed electronic logbook would ultimately build up the management support and the interactivity between all the parties; fishery inspector, harbor manager, coast guard marshal points, ship owners, exporters and the ministry. This project supposes a GPS (Global Positioning System) enabled tablet computer as the electronic logbook, which automatically gathers all the ship route details and the manually entered on location catch details. The data recording will be done throughout the voyage and the data transferring to the central location will be done within the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) range. The proposed solution provides efficient and effective platform to its all stakeholders.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University of Colombo School of Computing and Ministry of Fisheries was held recently at Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development New Secretariat, Maligawatta.
MOU was signed by Prof. Gihan Wikramanayake (Director/ UCSC) and Christy Lal Fernando (GD/ Department of Fisheries). Modeling and Simulation of research group of UCSC has started the design and development of the proposed solution. They have been developing similar solution for three years and obtained national and international recognition through awards and publications. Prof. N D Kodikara is the Principal Investigator of the project and the top team includes Prof. Gihan Wikramanayake, Dr. Chamath Keppetiyagama, Mr.G.K.A. Dias and Dr. K.D. Sandaruwan.
The salient features of the proposed solution are cost effectiveness and user does not get locked into a vendor specific proprietary solution. The proposed solution is a homegrown solution. Hence, development and maintenance cost of the proposed solution is a fraction of similar product in the global market. Commercial products will only permit limited customization. However, additional features can be incorporated to the proposed solution.