The Coastal Development Agency and the Fisheries Department of Kerala are jointly implementing a project for providing training and fishing implements to traditional fishermen for deep sea fishing.
Fisheries Minister S. Sarma will inaugurate the project on Tuesday by handing over fishing and safety equipment to five groups of trained fishermen in Thiruvananthapuram district.
The first group of fishermen were trained by a technologist from Granada and a master fisherman. They, in turn, impart training to other fishermen.
The project proposes to make use of the export market for the yellow fin tuna by enabling the fishermen to catch them and keep them ready for export without loss of quality. While the tuna fetched Rs. 60 to Rs. 70 a kg in the local market, special grades fetched higher prices in foreign markets. The Japanese Sashimi grade used raw, had a market value of Rs. 350 to Rs. 400 a kg while the European Loin grade fetched Rs. 200 to Rs. 250 a kg. The project plans to use modern post harvest technologies to capture at least the European market.
A study by the Food and Agriculture Organisation had reported that the boats with outboard engines used by the traditional fishermen of Kerala were suitable to deep sea fishing. It was also possible for them to preserve the catch on the boat itself with proper training. The project was drawn up in view of the scope for catching tuna on the Kerala coast and its marketing potential projected by the study. Basic facilities including arrangements to ensure hygiene would be set up on the coast for processing.
The first phase of the project will cover 100 fishermen and their boats in Thiruvananthapuram district.