The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Fisheries has launched a modified multiday fishing vessel at an event in Colombo to improve the quality of fish and reduce postharvest loss in the Fisheries sector.
Issuing a statement, the FAO said fish products are an important source of animal protein for Sri Lanka and the sector contributes about 1.1 percent to Sri Lanka’s GDP.
However, the statement said studies by the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) indicate that the fish quality loss in some harbours is at 60 – 70 percent.
Some of the issues contributing to these losses include the lack of an adequate cooling system in multi-day fishing vessels that use weeks-old ice to maintain low temperatures and the captured harvest not being handled or stored properly by fishers, which reduces the quality of the overall harvest and damage the bottom layer of stored fish.
To address this issue FAO, together with the Ministry of Fisheries and NARA, modified the design of a multi-day fishing vessel as a pilot project to introduce new boat designs that provide an economically viable solution to minimize the quality loss of fish harvests. By reducing the existing post-harvest losses, the investment for the proposed new design can be recovered within 3.5 years.
The modified multi-day vessel features a pilot coolant system in fish holds and storage as well as a modified fish holding facility to minimize the physical damage to fish due to overload. The modified vessel was launched at an event in Colombo under the auspices of the Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, the Minister of Fisheries, Douglas Devananda, State Minister of Fisheries, Piyal Nishantha de Silva, and the FAO Assistant Representative for Sri Lanka, Nalin Munasinghe.
The Prime Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena highlighted the potential of the project stating, “I’m thankful to the Ministry and FAO for the efforts taken to introduce innovative methods to protect the valuable harvests of the fisheries industry. This innovative design will bring multiple benefits for the fisheries community by enabling them to protect the quality of their harvest.”
The Minister of Fisheries, Douglas Devananda stated, “I thank FAO, NARA, NERD, and other fisheries organizations that supported us in this initiative. We’re committed to introducing innovative solutions to address the challenges faced by the Fisheries community today.”
Speaking on the initiative Assistant FAO Representative for Sri Lanka, Nalin Munasinghe stated “This initiative is an important step in introducing new technology to the Fisheries sector that will reduce losses, increase profits and improve the quality of fish available for consumers. As FAO we are committed to supporting the sustainable integration of technology and innovation to strengthen Sri Lanka’s journey to becoming a food-secure nation.”
Together with its partners, FAO in Sri Lanka is committed to addressing urgent food security needs, while improving the capacity of the fisheries and agriculture sectors to support Sri Lanka’s journey to becoming a food-secure nation.