The three districts of Trivandrum, Quilon and Kanyakumari were characterised by rough surf conditions and the availability of a large number of fish species in small quantities, resulting in conditions that favoured small scale diversified fishing operations.
The Kattumaram, a fishing craft, has been the mainstay of the small-scale fishermen in these districts for centuries. Due to increasing deforestation in early 1980s, timber for Kattumaram was becoming scarce, and a need was felt for an alternative. The plywood boat project was the result of the efforts in this direction.
The marine plywood boats became instant hit among artisanal fishermen who, threatened by the mechanised trawling boats believed that the new boats could help them motorise their operations.
SIFFS responded to the increasing demand for plywood boats and forayed into boat building.
To retain the control of fishermen organizations over the new technology in order to protect the interests ofsmall-scale fishermen via private players.
To spread and diffuse the technology at prices affordable to small-scale fishermen.
To create a permanent institutional mechanism to continue research and development efforts in the field.
Through the decades, SIFFS has been continually responding to the changing needs and aspirations of its beneficiaries through following activities.
Setting up boatyards to manufacture different models of boats and undertake repair works.
Conducting research and development on designs of boat models and materials for boat building
Providing training in boat building and maintenance.
SIFFSs approach of involving fishermen themselves in the design of the models led to rapid spread of plywood boats in three districts. The extraordinary dynamism of fishermen, reflected in productive use of plywood boats, contributed significantly to extending the area of fishing in the region.
Today, SIFFS is a leading player and price leader in plywood boat building market in South-West Coast of India