Fishers in Kochi welcome efforts to help boats shift to alternative fuels

Traditional fishermen and big boat owners have welcomed efforts by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) to help vessels shift to alternative fuels like LNG in view of the effect it will have on pollution control and savings.

CIFT sources said the institute had converted its research vessel Matsyakumari to LNG successfully. The conversion has helped save around 20% of cost when compared to diesel. Besides, LNG causes less pollution.

The research institute is also experimenting with duel-fuel engines comprising extra-green diesel as well as LNG. The use of extra-green diesel in research vessel Sagar Harita had shown that there was considerable drop in pollution, vibration, and noise.

Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedi leader Charles George said any effort by research institutions to help fishing boats and traditional canoes look to alternative fuels should be supported by the government considering the importance of the fisheries sector in employment generation and ensuring food security.

Traditional canoes have been using kerosene, and around one third of the boats have now shifted to other fuels, considering the pollution caused by kerosene. A total of 14,322 traditional boats had been issued permits for receiving subsidised kerosene last month after inspections by the Fisheries department. There were a total of 14,564 applications for kerosene permits.

However, subsidised kerosene supply is inadequate to maintain the fishing fleet in the State, said Mr. George. Kerosene price now hovers around ₹83 per litre in the open market. The cost is too high for boats to maintain their operations, he added.

Joseph Xavier Kalapurackal of Kerala Fishing Boat Operators’ Association said the technology for use of alternative fuels should be standardised to benefit operators. He added that there had been attempts in the past to shift to other fuels from kerosene and diesel. However, technical issues need to be addressed.

Fishing has an annual turnover of around ₹40,000 crore, employs 15 lakh people, and earns foreign exchange worth ₹20,000 crore. The sector has also ₹1 lakh crore in capital investments, he added.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2022 9:42:02 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/fishers-in-kochi-welcome-efforts-to-help-boats-shift-to-alternative-fuels/article65456548.ece