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ICAR-CIFT Launches Coconut Wood Canoe for Artisanal Fisheries

CHELLANAM: Dr. Madan Mohan, Assistant Director General (Marine Fisheries), ICAR launched Coconut Wood Canoe here on Wednesday. The canoe was handed over to the Kannamali Cheriyakadavu Fishermen Development Welfare Co-operative Society for field trials by Dr. E.G. Silas, Former Vice Chancellor, Kerala Agricultural University.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Madan Mohan said that the association between the organisations like CDB, ICAR-CIFT and Fishermen Societies will go a long way in promoting technologies in the sector.

Dr. Leela Edwin, PI of the project welcomed the gathering and gave a brief about the technology development process.

Dr. Ravishankar C.N., Director, ICAR-CIFT delivered the Presidential Address and spoke about the continuing service of the Institute to the fisheries sector.

Shri P. B. Francis, President of the Fishermen Co-operative Society offered felicitations.

Shri M.V. Baiju, Senior Scientist proposed the vote of thanks.

Background and Technology

Wood has been a traditional boat building material for small scale fisheries sector in India, despite the advent of new materials. The increasing scarcity of the conventional boat building timbers like jungle jack (Artocarpus hirsutas), punna (Calophyllum inophyllum), mango (Mangifera indica) etc., has necessitated the search for alternate materials. Rubber wood has already been successfully demonstrated as a boat building material by ICAR-CIFT Kochi. Coconut wood is another material that has been zeroed in considering its availability, especially in coastal states and islands of the country.

Coconut wood mainly comes from old coconut trees and has been used as structural and interior design material. The outermost high density portion of coconut palm is hard, durable and possesses good physical and mechanical properties. Thus it can be an alternative for conventional boat building timbers. About 0.30 cubic meter usable wood can be obtained from a palm aged about 60 years.

The construction of the coconut wood canoe was carried out under a project titled “Techno – Economic Feasibility of Coconut Wood Canoes for Small Scale Fisheries Sector in the South West Coast of India and Lakshadweep” funded by the Coconut Development Board, Government of India. The project demonstrated that chemical preservative treatment can improve the durability of coconut wood considerably under various environmental conditions. The preservative treatment on the coconut wood panels were standardized based on the BIS standards to enhance its physical and mechanical properties. After standardizing the treatment parameters for increasing the durability of the wood, the canoe of dimensions 9.0 m LOA, 1.50 m breadth and 0.70 m depth was constructed for use by the artisanal fisheries sector. This is operated with a 9.9 hp OBM.  The canoe is capable of accommodating 8-10 people at a time and is suitable for gillnet, ring seine and hook and line operations.

The coconut wood canoe is cheaper by about 40% when compared to the cost of most preferred aini wood canoe and refinements in the preservative technology and increasing the scale of production, will further bring down the costs. Through standardized preservative techniques the durability and strength of the coconut wood was increased and the wood made suitable for constructing the canoe. The canoe has been constructed taking into consideration the requirements of the fishermen who will be using the canoe.

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