Malaysian fisherfolk use ICTs for flood disaster preparation, risk management and reduction


The increasing threats of climate change prompted the scholars from the University of Putra Malaysia to investigate the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in climate resilience for fisheries and aquaculture. In particular, they sought to determine the access, use, and preference of ICTs for disaster preparation, risk management and reduction among Malaysian fisherfolk.

The scholars conducted a cross-sectional survey in the Malaysian coastal states of Terengganu, Pahang and Kelantan where flood disasters were frequent. Three hundred sixty-two (362) fisherfolk answered the survey. Almost all of the respondents were male (98%). This was an indicator that fishing was still a male-dominated vocation. Majority of the respondents were also married (83%). An aging population was noted since a large proportion were between 48 – 62 years old (39%).

Almost all of the respondents accessed a television set (92%) while more than half accessed a mobile phone (61%) and a radio (58%). The Global Positioning System (GPS) was the most common fishing-based ICT that was accessed (64%). At least half of the respondents also accessed a sonar system (51%). The least accessed ICTs were echo-sounders (19%), computers (14%), fishing remote sensing (14%), and other wireless systems (14%).

ICT use and preference varied. Majority used mobile phones and social media for advisory services and weather and flood risk communication. In terms of preference, respondents said they preferred mobile phones and television sets for advisory services. Meanwhile, television and social media were preferred for weather and flood risk communication.

Challenges in relation to ICTs were still common among fisherfolk in Terengganu, Pahang and Kelantan. Among these were poor services and poor ICT skills. They also often lacked disaster preparation time after receiving the early warning. These challenges along with the findings on ICT access, use, and preferences could be used to suit communication programs and ICT development for fisherfolk in Malaysia.

Bashir, G., Man, N., Saleh, J. & Daneji, M.I. (2018). Evaluation of ICTs access, use and preferences for livelihood resilience: results from a survey of Malaysian fisher folks. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 24(4), 377-388.

Photo Credit: Bernard Dupont. CC-BY-SA 2.0.

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