As a part of National Agricultural Innovation project (NAIP-RHSSP) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), operational in Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, a new business model has been developed for trading fresh fish under the brand name “Sea fresh”. The sale of hygienically cleaned and packed fresh fish through “signature kiosks” has been initiated at various locations in Ernakulam district. “Seafresh” was officially launched by Shri Hibi Eden, MLA, Ernakulam on 19th February, 2014 at St. Albert’s College. During the inaugural function, the portable kiosks were distributed by Sri Hibi Eden to the students of St. Albert’s Ccollege. Also, the first sale was done by him. Almost 15 students belonging to Fisheries Science Department of St. Albert’s College, Ernakulam have come forward for the marketing of ‘Seafresh’ at locations like Palarivattom, Kaloor, Thevara, High court Junction and Kadavantra in Ernakulam district.
The processed fresh fish packed in 500g and 1 kg packets are being sold through kiosks placed at roadsides from 3 PM to 6 PM during working days by the students, after the class time. The Fisheries Science students including girls have taken up the marketing activities of Seafresh which has helped in wiping off the social stigma related to fish trade and has helped to elevate the status of the occupation. This venture also gives an opportunity for women from coastal belt to earn a subsidiary income.
At production end, the primary producers (fisherfolk) are getting an increased price for their fish when they bring it in good quality demanded by the project team. In the processing centre, the women get income for hygienically dressing and packing. The persons engaged in trading also derives a margin and customers get the value added fresh fish at almost same cost that of other fishes, as there is no middle men’s share.
Under the guidance of NAIP-RHSSP team, processing units have been initiated at Ochanthuruth, Ernakulam and Kollam, which are being operated by fisherwomen trained in hygienically processing the high quality fresh fish acquired directly from fishing harbor, considering HACCP protocols. More kiosks are coming up at 15 more different locations in the district. More processing units will be established later as the market spread out. In the production units, the fresh fish procured from selected fishing boats under quality direction are dressed and packed in special LDPE sealed trays in chilled condition and make it ready for sale. The business model is a solution for the problems in fresh fish trade like unhygienic handling, spoilage due to lack of preservation, incorporation of unwanted chemicals, generation of waste at market place or at home while dressing the fish.