Knowledge, Training and Access to Global Positioning Systems: Views of Young Fishermen in Malaysia

By Bolong, Jusang; Osman, Nizam et al. | Asian Social Science, March 2014 | Go to article overview

Knowledge, Training and Access to Global Positioning Systems: Views of Young Fishermen in Malaysia


Bolong, Jusang, Osman, Nizam, Omar, Siti Zobidah, D'Silva, Jeffrey Lawrence, Shaffril, Hayrol Azril Mohamed, Asian Social Science


Abstract

The main aim of this study is to identify the knowledge around, access to and training for use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) among young fishermen in Malaysia. This is a quantitative study, wherein a total of 240 young fishermen aged between 15 and 40 years old from four fishing areas have been chosen as the respondents. Based on the analyses performed, it can be seen that young fishermen in Malaysia have a good level of knowledge on the potential role GPS could play in their fishing activities. In addition, there is a lack of access to GPS training. A number of recommendations have been placed which, it is a hoped, can be used to further enhance the use of GPS among young fishermen in Malaysia.

Keywords: young fishermen, technology usage, community development, fisheries development

1. Introduction

The fishing industry has been long recognized as one of the catalysts that can stimulate improvement of the socio-economic level of communities in Malaysia. Today, an unpredictable climate and overfishing have posed great challenges to the fishing industry. While fishermen who practice traditional methods seem to have problems when it comes to adapting to these changes, progressive fishermen, who rely on modern fishery technologies, have successfully overcome these changes. Admitting the importance of technology within the fishing industry, the government has made efforts to introduce a number of advanced technologies, such as GPS, to the fishermen. The main function of GPS is to navigate fishermen exactly to their marked location, with this superior function having created a number of indirect benefits for the fishermen. First, it saves fishermen time-shorter fishing operations means less money spent on fuel, ice and crew member salaries and, in turn less money spent means more profit for the fishermen. Second, GPS improves the safety of the fishermen; it can navigate them directly to the jetty when visibility level becomes limited in bad weather, and can warn fishermen of any dangerous coral reef or nearby international boundaries.

Young fishermen, who are associated with their interest in and compatibility with advanced technologies, can only benefit from the use of GPS, and the same is true for future generations of fishermen-and the fishing industry as a whole. Young fishermen within the scope of this study refer to the youth fishermen. While the international definition as to what constitutes as 'youth' varies, Malaysia's Ministry of Youth and Sports, defines a 'youth' as being someone who is aged between 15 and 40 years. Currently, there is no official statistic on the number of young fishermen in Malaysia; however, local studies conducted by Shaffril et al. (2013), Mazuki et al. (2013) and Omar et al. (2012) have consistently proven that young fishermen constitute almost 30 per cent of the population of Malaysia's fishermen. It is important to have young fishermen in the industry for a number of reasons. First, the fishing population of Malaysia is aging (Ramli et al., 2013; Bolong et al., 2013). Second, as the fishing industry evolves and moves away from traditional fishing methods, it is young fishermen who can help the move more quickly toward the employment of more technologically advanced methods.

Generally, use of fishery technology among fishermen in Malaysia is still at a low level. Omar et al. (2012) have concluded that a total of 69.2 per cent of fishermen had never used GPS in their fishing operations, while only 9.7 per cent of them used it frequently. In another study by Omar et al. (2011), it was found that some fishermen still preferred more traditional methods than using GPS to track and navigate to marked fishing locations. Such findings give rise to an important question: even though GPS offers fishermen a number of clear benefits, the number of GPS users among fishermen in Malaysia does not reflect this-why? In response to this question, the present study would like to focus on three main factors that can explain levels of GPS usage among the fishermen of Malaysia, namely knowledge, training and access. …

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