Andhra Pradesh

Now, solar-powered boats for inland fishing, tourism promotion in Andhra

The new version of solar-powered boat.  

Forget oars and paddles, and the smoke belching kerosene or diesel that power many small boats. An eco-friendly breakthrough by ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology will soon enable the use of solar-powered boats for fishing and tourism in reservoirs, small rivers and aquaculture ponds.

The boats will be of use for reservoirs of Andhra Pradesh for both fishing and tourism in Tandava and Raiwada and Nagarjuna Sagar Dam to help small and marginal fishermen.

‘Sunny’ side up

The CIFT has come out first with Sun Boat-I technology with a 3.7-mlong vessel to carry four persons for a cruise up to two hours with a battery capacity of 1.5 KW costing around ₹4 to ₹5 lakh as a pilot project. Later, an improved version named Sun Boat-II has been developed which is eight-metre long with a battery of 1.8 KW and cruise capacity of five hours. It can carry 10 persons and costs around ₹10 lakh to ₹12 lakh. Samudra Shipyard of Kochi has built the two boats. A few boats have been ordered for construction in Kerala by various departments for fishing and tourism.

Fishing, fun and more

The solar boats have multiple applications as they can be of used for gill netting, long lining, recreational, fishing, transportation, aqua tourism as well as surveillance.

“After successful operation of the first version in fish farms and inland waters of Kerala, a successor of this boat, CIFT Sun Boat-II with higher capacity and advanced technology has been developed as a continual improvement in the renewable energy utilisation in the small-scale inland fishing operation pan India,” ICAR-CIFT Director C.N. Ravishankar told The Hindu.

Free fuel

The boat is built with fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) with a breadth extreme of 2.40 m, breadth demi hull of 0.88 m, depth of 0.75 m and draught of 0.3 m.

The annual fuel consumption by the mechanised and motorised fishing fleet of India has been estimated at 1,220 million litres, about 1% of the total fossil fuel consumption in the country in 2000 releasing an estimated 3.17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at an average rate of 1.13 tonne of per tonne of live weight of marine fish landed, according to CIFT principal scientist and in-charge of Visakhapatnam Regional Centre R. Raghu Prakash.

Traditionally, they use wooden canoes, or coracles - small round boats made of cane covered with watertight material propelled with paddles. FRP canoes and coracles were introduced by CIFT in many places in Andhra Pradesh and in the North Eastern regions.

The solar boat will help the inland fishermen. “The government could offer some subsidy to promote such eco-friendly crafts which do not cause any pollution,” said National Fisherfolk Forum general secretary Arjili Dasu.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 1:22:02 AM |

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