A communication received from the Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt. of India states that a team of researchers from the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Cochin has been selected for the 4th National Award for Technology Innovation (Runner Up) in the field of Polymer Science & Technology for their work on Upgradation of Treated Rubber wood Using FRP Sheathing for Fishing Boat Construction. Dr. Leela Edwin, Principal Scientist and Head of Fishing Technology Division is the team leader. The other members of the teamare Dr. P. Muhamed Ashraf, Dr. Nikita Gopal, Dr. M. Ajith Peter, Dr. A. Sreeja, Dr. Saly N. Thomas and Dr. B. Meenakumari. The award will be presented in a function to be organized shortly in New Delhi.
CIFT had earlier established that rubber wood, an agricultural by product, when subjected to appropriate preservative treatment,is an alternative to conventional timbers for construction of small fishing canoes. The present innovation showed the effectiveness of Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) sheathing in protecting the preserved rubber wood without any biological degradation and prevents the leaching of chemical constituentsof the wood preservative into the aquatic environment. This was proved through studies conducted on the aquatic environment and the biota which established the eco-friendliness of the technology. Thus the FRP sheathing makes the use of treated wood environmentally safe.The economic viability was acknowledged by the fishermen who carried out the extended field trials as the FRP sheathed rubber wood canoe were practically maintenance free and had a life more than that of the conventional canoes.