Fish Conservation: Cold Chain and Other Solutions

11/3/2021 € 808 per ship€Project

Context - Background

AeA has been working since 1981 to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable communities. Among its main lines of cooperation are the strengthening and modernization of the productive and industrial capacity of these communities.

Currently, AeA is developing a project in the native community of MAMUGAH territory, made up of 7 municipalities around the bay, located in the northeast corridor of Honduras.

AeA works with public institutions, fishing companies and fishermen’s associations in the governance of the fishing chain. Recently, they have reached an investment agreement by a private company at the seafood processing plant in the Municipality of Santa Fe (15°53’55.1”N 86°02’44.9”W - Google Maps) . With this agreement, it is expected to export the fish to the international market and in addition, it has been possible to affiliate all the fishermen of the corridor to the local processing plant.

The initial economic situation is precarious, with a poverty rate of over 60 per cent. Families are unable to meet their basic needs and are exposed to multiple climatic threats.

Artisanal fishing contributes to household food security and is the largest source of income. In particular, it represents the livelihood of more than 5,000 families, mostly belonging to the Garifuna and Miskito ethnic groups, of which about 1,600 are fishermen.

In order to preserve the populations of the various species in the bay, Fishing Recovery Zones have been defined through buoys as ZRP demarcation and the definition of 12 nautical miles for the protection of fishermen.

The challenge

Fish Conservation. Solutions for Gender Conservation in Artisanal Fishing, ensuring either the Cold Chain or other methods.

Given the high temperatures in the area, the time of fishing and transport and the low capacity of cold storage in the boats, the fish catches do not reach the processing plant in Santa Fe in the best conditions.

The fishing is done in an artisanal way, using small boats, some with small motors and others with oar within 3 nautical miles of the coast.

There are 23 fishermen’s associations scattered throughout the bay. These partnerships together have a total of 242 boats for the 1,600 fishermen. The association furthest from the processing plant is 150 km away and a distance of 4 hours in summer season and up to 6 hours in winter. 

Each boat catches an average of 200 pounds of fish and a maximum of 300 pounds during a day of fishing. The fishermen divide the work by hours, some go fishing in the morning from 5 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon and others in the afternoon-night from 4 to 10 at night.

Fishing resources:

  • 242 boats 32 feet long, with insulated boxes (refrigerators) with capacity for 300 pounds

    1 mother ship 54 feet in length with capacity for 5,000 pounds

    There is another ship, which is not of the processor, which is rented and which can store up to 20,000 pounds. When renting this boat they usually take the boats on board to deeper areas to fish and then the fishing is taken to the processor.

    The processing plant.

In addition, some boats (20%) have conventional 100 Ah batteries for the lights used for night fishing, thus increasing productivity.

The processing plant has the following characteristics (see annex):

  • 151.4 m2 building
  • Access to the public energy network, with an additional generator set.
  • Ice making machine, with a storage capacity of 10 t. 
  • Two cold rooms for freezing, with capacity for 45,000 pounds of fish each.

See annexes with pictures

See descriptive vídeo

Winning solution

Author: Karl Grimsehl - South Africa


The easiest way to keep fish fresh is to keep it alive. This practice has been practiced in China for more than three thousand years.

The system shall consist of a container filled with seawater. The water inside the container shall also be continuously circulated and transfused with fresh seawater to ensure that the fish remain in clean, aerated water. Today’s boats are equipped with portable refrigerators that can carry 300 pounds of fish. The new system should be able to transport the same amount of fish.

• 300 lbs = 136 kg.
• 136 kg at a density of 1 kg / l gives us a volume of 136 liters.

The recirculation water tank

The recirculation water tank consists of a container placed on top of the boat. This container is completely filled with seawater. The reason we fully fill the container is to reduce the instability of the boat due to splashing water. The container is connected to a supply pump that supplies the container with fresh seawater. The container has an outlet that pours spent water into the ocean. The container is also equipped with a fish shoot through which the fish is inserted into the container.

Fish conservation solution

Figure 1: Design of the concept

A 160l container with dimensions of 0.4mx0.4mx1m should be sufficient for these ships, but larger containers like 250l with dimensions of 0.5mx0.5mx1m can also be considered.

The following CAD representation shows the design of the concept using a 160 and a band water pump.

Fish conservation CAD model

Figure 2: CAD Representation

An example of a 160 l container below is an example of a 160 l container [4]. The cost of this container in South Africa at a local retail store is R250 (25 euros). A 240 l container at the same retailer costs 1500 rand (150 euros) [6].

Sample Sample 160 L container

Figure 3: Example of container

Below an example of a hand pump [5] that can be used to circulate fresh seawater in the container. In a retail store in South Africa costs R700 (70 euros)

Example of a manual pump

Figure 4: Example of a manual pump

Project Implementation plan

The first thing done was to present the proposal to the local fishermen. Local fishermen have assessed the feasibility of the concept.

The implementation of the recirculating water tank concept begins with the construction of a single prototype and placing it on a fishing boat. This prototype ship has run for a few weeks to test the idea. As the idea is feasible, local suppliers and assembler should be the source to equip the rest of the boats.


Prototype of the recirculation water tank


Fishing boat with the prototype installed

Amount to Fund: