SIFFS was registered as the apex body of a three-tier co-operative structure in 1980, under the Travancore Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Act of 1955. Primary societies and district federations form the two tiers of the organisation.
In terms of legal status primary societies fall in two categories. While the first few primary societies including Marianad were registered as co-operatives, societies constituted after 1976 were registered under the Societies Registration Act due to certain legal hurdles.
Presently, SIFFS has over 100 primary societies at the village level. These societies are affiliated to the District Federations, which are in turn the members - Full or Associate - of SIFFS. Full members are the primary members of SIFFS, with membership granted to the federations fulfilling certain basic criteria. Associate members include federations that do not yet comply with the stipulations for full membership. They also include other organisations that are not district federations but are associated with the programmes of SIFFS.
SIFFS is a democratically managed society of fish workers. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman are necessarily fishermen elected from the primary- and district-level organisations, according to the charter of SIFFS.
The paramount policy making body of SIFFS is the General Body, which consists of six representatives from every full member federation and one representative from an associate member federation. The body meets twice a year.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors, consisting of elected fishermen in the majority, is responsible for the management of the organisation. The Board consists of two representatives from each full member federation. Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive of SIFFS as well as the Chief Executives of full members are ex-officio members of the Board. The Board meets about once a month, and presently consists of FOURTEEN MEMBERS
Chief Executive of SIFFS, assisted by a 150 strong team, comprising MBAs, engineers and technicians, is responsible for the programme implementation. Almost 80 % of the staff is engaged in commercial activities such as Boat Building and Outboard Motor Distribution.
Regional and Field Offices
SIFFS has three regional offices, situated at Calicut in North Kerala, Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and Mangalore in Karnataka and two field offices based at Tranquebar and Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. Through this network of regional offices and field offices, SIFFS has been able to expand its functional area and identify new potential areas as well. The regional offices and field offices have been supporting the central office in both commercial and development activities