Thiruvananthapuram: The Lakshwadeep administration has started exporting premium tuna fish to Japan through Bengaluru.
The first consignment of chilled tuna fish was transported from Agati airport to Bengaluru on Saturday, with the Union Territory administration joining hands with a private partner for the export.
Lakshwadeep District Collector S. Asker Ali told IANS: “We are planning to increase exports of tuna fish from the islands to Japan.”
The administration is planning to export 5 tonnes of tuna daily from islands to Tokyo, through Bengaluru, and this chartered flight will bring all essentials for the island from Bengaluru.
Of the 12,500 households in the islands, there are 7,197 registered fishermen operating 2,158 mechanised and motorised fishing boats.
According to a study by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Lakshwadeep has the potential to export 1 lakh tonnes of tuna fish a month.
According to marine scientists and exporters, tuna from Lakshwadeep have the least histamine content, mainly due to the traditional hook and line fishing methods and short fishing durations.
Three major containerised ice plants with German technology were installed in Minicoy, Agatti, and Amini Islands and around 20 tonne cold storage facilities were provided on various islands.
The Lakshwadeep administration had conducted a meeting of Lakshwadeep tuna exporters and stake holders in Kochi and around 50 exporters from Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Goa participated.
Sashmi Food Private Ltd, a Bengaluru-based export company that has an European Union approved export plant, had then come forward to export tuna fish from Lakshwadeep to Tokyo.
The Lakshwadeep administration is planning to fecilitate full-fledged tuna export, both by air cargo and through vessel directly operated by selected export companies after September 15. An agreement will be signed between fishermen cooperative societies and the exporters.
Lakshwadeep District Collector said that this would provide a better price and open new markets for the premium Lakshwadeep tuna.