A considerable segment of our island nation’s coastal population depends on day-boat fishing for their livelihoods. Such fishermen have access to no more electronic technology than basic mobile phones. Their safety and ability to earn an income are highly dependent on the weather and coastal sea conditions. Television or radio news bulletins, or any warnings received by fisheries harbour masters and conveyed before putting out to sea, were the only means to warn such poor fishermen of hazardous conditions, with appropriate advice.
“Sayuru” (“Oceans” in Sinhala) fills this gap by providing accurate weather information and advisory in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Department of Meteorology of the Government of Sri Lanka. The service is designed for the basic mobile phones owned by fishermen or their families, employing trilingual IVR (voice) and SMS to reach coastal populations in time to warn them ahead of putting out to sea with approaching heavy weather. As most day-boat fishermen remain within mobile network coverage for the majority of their voyages, they have the opportunity for the first time to receive and respond to warnings in real time.
The service enables an automated a daily weather forecast dispatch that was previously impossible to direct at fishermen. Like with the Govi Mithuru mAgri service, users subscribe to the free service by selecting their language and fisheries zone as defined by the two departments according to geography. The high-relevance messages thus received increase engagement and trust among users. In situations of extreme hazard for the entire coast or particular zones, pre-recorded or same-day recorded voice messages in the fisherman’s selected language are dispatched using Outbound Dialling (OBD) technology.
The service aims to address first the most pressing issue of hazard warnings at sea, and to build the trust and targeted reach to spread further education and awareness to make day-boat fishing not only less risky, but also more efficient and environmentally sustainable.
Types of messages under this service for customers;
- Weather Forecast
These messages are the regular periodic notifications
- Critical Alerts
These are dispatched on demand from fisheries department (OBD & SMS)
- Informational Alerts
These are dispatched on demand from fisheries department (Customizable Content (SMS Only)