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Sunday, 3 April 2011

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ITI project adds value to fish waste

A total of 50-60 percent of the annual fish harvest is discarded as fish waste or by-products due to the processing methods practiced by the industry. This leads to environmental problems and disturbance of off shore fishing activities.

Fish heads, viscera (gut) gills, skin and fins are discarded as fish waste. ITI and with the Norwegian Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture Research under a NORAD funded project commenced a project to find methods to add value to fish waste.

Prior to the implementation of the project the fish waste collected in the harbours too were dumped into the sea causing environmental and other problems.

At the Beruwela harbour alone 700 kilos of waste per day was thrown to the deep sea and it is no different to other harbours. After the conflict, Kalmunai has a waste accumulation of 500-2,500 metric tons per day depending on the season, said Research Scientist ITI, Samantha Madage.

The ITI researched on methods to add value to the waste depending on the quality and type of the waste. Madage said that the tuna processing industry discards 40-50 percent as waste or by-products of which 30 percent can be consumed by humans which includes off cuts and the red meat.

All this is sold to buyers in bulk form where the offcuts are dried to be used as dried fish while the balance is dumped on bare lands or to the sea.

Even poor quality and un fit for human consumption parts can be used to produce animal feed and feed ingredients including fish silage, an alternative to fish meal. Earlier there was no production of fish meal locally therefore the total requirement had to be imported which was a huge drain on foreign exchange. It is a major protein source in animal feed and is very expensive.

The basic quality imported fish meal is Rs 340 a kilogram. Every part of the fish can be used to manufacture fish silage which comes in liquid form, which is a diet for pigs, poultry and fish.

The advantages of manufacturing fish silage locally are many. The investment as well as the cost of production is very low, said Madage.

ITI has transferred this technology to the Beruwela harbour and has further developed it as a powder using another waste material - rice bran. It can be added to any form of feed. Other products which the ITI has developed include bone meal, bone powder, gelatine from tuna skin, fish oil, designer eggs and fish balls.

Madage said that some of the processes are patented while some technologies have been transferred to companies for commercial production.

Most of the technologies developed by the ITI are on low investment, therefore even a small-scale entrepreneur can purchase and start commercial production which will save foreign exchange and make the country more environmental-friendly.

SG

 

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