Call a friend to catch a fish: mobiles mean money for Indian fishermen

Posted: 07/06/2011 in all marine news

RT –

Mobile phones are increasingly sophisticated these days, but there is one use you might not have considered – catching fish.

­Indian trawler crews used to rely on luck for a good catch. But it is a different kind of net-work that is funding their fortunes – India’s fishermen find mobiles are where the money is.

Mohan Kumar revs up his engine for a day of fishing off the coast of Kerala – the southernmost state in India.

“I studied in school until the 7th grade but then I had to leave school because we were not economically well off, so I had to help my dad with fishing,” says Mohan Kumar, a fisherman from Kerala.

Kumar is one of thousands of fishermen in the state who wake up at one o’clock to earn a living. For decades, fishermen like Kumar, relied on luck and prayer in order to find a good catch, but all that has changed since the introduction of the mobile phone in the state more than ten years ago.

“If the fish are not available where we go fishing, the fishermen in other parts of the sea call us and tell us where we might be able to find a good catch. Then we can go to that particular place,” explains another Kerala fisherman, Purushotaman.

In addition, because of the new ease of communication, Kumar is able to find out how much demand is at his local market and the prices the buyers are offering in order to determine where best to sell his fish. Today he is making double the amount of money he was making before he started using a mobile phone. He now owns his own boat and says he is able to send his three daughters to college.

India has the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world and the most growth is happening in rural areas. What may be seen as a convenience in the West is being utilized by Indian fisherman, revolutionizing their business and turning them into entrepreneurs and businessmen in their communities.

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