In Sri Lanka, the fishing industry provides direct employment to 650 000 persons: 150 000 fishing, 100 000 associated service activities, 400 000 fish trade. This sector provides sustenance to 2, 4 million persons. It is an important livelihood. The total export of the country is varying between 1, 56% and 2, 47%. This sector generates a lot of employment and economic resources and contributes to around 70% of the animal protein consumed in the country (Ten year Development policy frame work of Fisheries and Aquatic resources 2007 -2016., Government of Sri Lanka).
The vast majority of fishing crafts operational in Sri Lanka are engine-driven resulting in high fuel consumption for each fishing trip. In view of reducing the daily fuel bill fishermen have to face and reducing the CO2 footprint affecting the local environment, in August 2008 BAF Foundation initiated research to retrofit existing local fishing craft with a sail and rigging system. In Sri Lanka, sails disappeared on fishing crafts since about 2 decades.
BAF Foundation decided to focus on daily fishing boat .OFRP. boat type, because with 17 835 existing boats (census of fishing boats in 2006/2007), this type is from far the most popular motorized fishing craft along the Sri Lankan coastline. This concept was created after a period of research, discussions, interrogations of expert boat builders, local fishermen, BAFF boat builder and sail making team, the Cey-Nor Foundation and the Deputy Director of College of fisheries and nautical Engineering.
End 2010, Cey-Nor Foundation (a 100% Government owned company) informed BAF Foundation that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources recognised the benefits of this project and accepted to finance the making of 10 sailing kits to be installed on existing boats belonging to fishermen from Kalutara district. The fibre hull modification to ensure full stability of the boat will be made by Cey-Nor and the sails, bamboo masts and booms and rigging system are currently manufactured within BAF Foundation sail making and mast making units in Weligama on the southern coast of the island. This activity provides job and generates revenue to (underprivileged) youth trained by the Foundation in those specific areas.
To make this dual powered boat (sail and engine) project a success, fishermen will be trained on how to use and handle the sail in different wind conditions.
The project will first be tested in Beruwala, Payagala and Kalutara and if it is promising the objective is to develop another 50 kits.
If you are interested to finance one or several sailing kits for local fishermen, please contact the Building A Future Foundation ([email protected])