Networking and linkages with research institutes and experimental initiatives in the first year taught us that we are in the right path for growth and development of fisheries sector. Inclusion of advanced technology in harvesting and marketing of fishing has help us to find out better value and price for fish. On the other hand we are able to use fish as a successful raw material and help a number of women to identify additional income to their family by utilizing more dignified way of marketing. More over ultimately the new intervention in the area of fish vending help us to improve the social standard of fish vending women in the present society.
In this year we paid more attention to inland fishing area and slowed down the pace of intervention in the marine sector. The aim of this strategy was to stabilize the change occurred in the marine fishing sector and ensures equal change in inland sector also.
Major problems identified in the inland sector were depletion of resource due to intensive fishing and high rate of pollution of the lake. Studies conducted by CMFRI revealed the fact that the 110 identified ethnic species in Ashtamudi Lake was reduced to 39 due to the environment degradation and extensive fishing.
Networking and Communication
To solve the scarcity of resources, and to protect the remaining species from destroying and to identify better market for their product we joined hands with Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). Dr. K.K. Appukuttan, Rtd. scientists and Director, Molascal Fisheries Division, CMFRl is acting as the consultant of the agency in this intervention. In the initial stage project team of the agency visited CMFRI and communicated with Dr. Boby Ignatius, principal scientist, Mari culture Division CMFRI. As a result of the visit they agreed to make a visit to QSSS especially Ashtamudi Lake to identify the possible solution and interventions for the issue.
Visits and observation
Team of experts including Dr. Boby Ignatius, Dr. Shoji Joseph and Dr. Appukuttan met the project team of QSSS and discussed the possibilities of preservation of existing resources, fish culturing, and value addition to the product through utilizing technological advancement.Fr. Rajesh Martin, Director QSSS led the project team. After the discussion the team visited coastal area near Bishop House, Thangassery, Perumon, Neendakara and Kureeppuzha in the banks of Ashtamudi. The experts were engaged in long talk with the traditional fishermen in this areas and suggested fish culturing for Perumon and Neendakara and ornamental fish culturing at bishop house. The team is continuing their visits to both the agency and field according to the need of the time.
As a follow up to the visits made by the experts from CMFRI the project team made a discussion with the traditional fisher men in Perumon about the possibilities of fish culturing. Rev. Fr. Pious Mallier, Assistant Director, and Fr. Vimal Kumar, Parish Priest Perumon Mundakkal moderated the discussion. The members of St. Alphonsa SHG came forward to participate in this initiative. The project team had constructed two cages having the capacity to carry 3000 fish seed in each. The construction was carried out in the direct supervision of CMFRI officials and the institution also bore 80% of the project cost. On 15th October 2012 the project was inaugurated by Dr. R. Rajasekharan, President, Panayam GP in a meeting under the presidentship of Fr. Rajesh Martin, director QSSS. Msgr. K.J Yesudas, Vicar General, diocese of Quilon blessed the cages and net. The expected period for harvesting will be on May 2013.
Advanced technology for clam processing
Yellow clam is an ethnic variety of clam available in Thekkumabhagom, an inland fishing village in the banks of Ashtamudi only. The major means of living of the traditional fishermen in this village is the harvesting and processing of this yellow clam. It is the only one village where the people follow self imposed holiday for fishing. There is a ban on harvest of clam from December to March in every year because it is the time for reproduction of yellow clam. Even though the yellow clam has a high demand in the internal and foreign market the real farmer does not get the actual price for it. The middle man absorbs the major share of the income. On the other hand the traditional and unhygienic method of clam processing itself caused low quality of product and reduction in price.
To solve the issue and make the real fisher men the masters of the product we joined hands with Molasccal Fisheries Division of CMFRI and national institute of fisheries post harvesting technology and training (NIFPHATT). With the technical support from NIFPHATT the agency have constructed a plant for the scientific processing and packing of the yellow clam. These research institute have agreed to connect the harvesters directly to the exporting companies. By avoiding the middle men the real fisher men will be get higher price for their value added product. The inauguration of the plant will be expecting on April 2013.
Formation of Kollam Fishermen Forum
Frequently occurred sea accidents act as an eye opener to think about a common platform for solving the issues being faced by fishermen in sea as well as in the coast. There are a number of organizations working in the fisheries sector. Each of the organization is formed according to the method of fishing that they have opted, area of the work they have engaged or based on differences in political ideology. Despite all these differences they have joined hands in time of contingencies and achieved their demands. QSSS took the initiative to sustain this unity and formed the Kollam Fishermen forum.An accident due to the collision of a traditional fishing boat with a motor boat and causing the demise of a fisherman trigged the need to this common platform. QSSS acted as a liaison between the boat owners association and organizations for traditional fishermen. The forum took active steps to trigger the law and order procedures to find out the culprit. The boat owners association agreed to provide Rs. 300000/- as compensation to the victims. But they could give only Rs. 200000/-. The remaining amount was provided by QSSS as a loan to the Boat Owners Association. The compensation was divided into two equal parts and distributed to the victims on 19th December 2012.The forum also look leadership in solving the issues related to dredging the port.