The Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation (TNFDC) will soon get a full-fledged modern fish handling centre with a cold storage facility and an ice flake-making plant to store 10 tonnes of fish. The facility, coming up in Santhome at a cost of Rs. 62 lakh, is to be inaugurated shortly as construction work is nearing completion.
According to sources in TNFDC, the facility will grade fish according to size, sort the different varieties, and if required, make into them fillets and also pack the fish in ice. This will function as a centralised facility where more fish can be stored and sent to outlets according to individual requirements. A major portion of the project, Rs. 45 lakh, has been funded by the National Fisheries Development Corporation while TNFDC has contributed Rs. 5 lakh.
The fish will be stored at minus two degree centigrade. The ice flake-making machine is a necessity, as according to export and European Union norms, packing using small flakes of ice is important. Presently, blocks of ice weighing 50 kg each are broken into smaller pieces and used, which sometimes causes damage to the fish. The machine will have a 3-tonne capacity per day, and the cold storage will be able to hold up to 10 tonnes, thus allowing TNFDC to process additional quantities of fish.
“Unless carefully handled, there is also a remote chance of the ice getting contaminated, which we want to avoid. For 1 kg of fish, 1 kg of ice is needed to keep the fish in good condition for 48 hours,” said a source in TNFDC.
The Corporation procures nearly 1.5 tonnes of fish daily in wholesale, and sells it through its 10 retail outlets located in several places including Nandanam, Besant Nagar, Santhome, Thiruvanmiyur, Tambaram and SAF Games Village
At present, TNFDC has a fish processing facility in Besant Nagar on rented premises, where ice is procured from outside and there is no cold storage room.