In a historic milestone, the Lakshadweep administration decides to export tuna fish to Japan via Bangalore through air cargo.

In a first of its kind intervention to sustain the livelihood of local fishermen and to enhance the exporting capabilities of the island, the Lakshadweep administration has roped in a private partner for the export of premium quality tuna fish to Japan.

The first and trial consignment of chilled tuna was successfully loaded at Agatti airport on 5th June and reached Bangalore.

With this successful daily trial run, the company is planning to expand the trade with more quantities chartering exclusive cargo flights with 5 metric ton capacity daily from Agatti to Bangalore for subsequent transport to Tokyo, Japan.

This chartered flight will bring other essential commodities from Bangalore and return with tuna fish. 

With more than 20,000 sq km territorial water, Lakshadweep has the highest potential of tuna, a high-value fish. More than 60% of the population of Lakshadweep is completely dependent on fishing as a livelihood.

Of the 12,500 households in the islands, there are around 7,197 registered fishermen operating with 2158 fishing boats. As per the estimated data of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), annually, Lakshadweep can harvest up to 1 lakh metric tons of tuna. 

“The administration is planning to facilitate full-fledged tuna export both by air cargo and through vessels directly operated by selected export companies after September 15. For this, an agreement will be signed involving the fishermen cooperative societies and the exporters. These initiatives will provide better price and open new markets for the premium Lakshadweep tunas creating better employment and livelihood opportunities”, said collector Askar Ali.

Till now, even after 73 years of independence, the Lakshadweep Administration could not create sustainable basic infrastructure facilities including ice plants, cold storage fish handling centers, etc. for the fishermen due to various reasons.

UT administration accorded top priority to the upliftment of the fishermen community, and immediate decisions were taken to create basic infrastructure for maximizing the fish catch and promotion of fish export.

As a result of which, 3 major containerised ice plants with German technology have been installed in Minicoy, Agatti, and Amini islands on a war footing for the first time in the history of Lakshadweep, the fishermen started getting ice in these major islands.

Around 20 tons capacity cold storage facilities and other infrastructures also have been created in various Islands.

The Lakshadweep administration conducted a mega Lakshadweep tuna exporters and stakeholders meet at Kochi where around 50 export companies from Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Goa participated.

As a result, of which, a Bangalore-based company, Sashimi Foods Private Limited with an approved chilled EU (European Union) export plant which exports fish and fisheries products to Japan expressed its willingness to export Lakshadweep fresh tuna directly to Japan as air cargo.

Source: Times Now News