On the 9th July three economic development specialists from the US Embassy visited Kakaitheevu to discover how a new fish auction hall has made a difference to the local community.
The fish auction hall was built by JSAC, with local labour, as part of the USAID funded project: Working for Wellbeing. It was completed and handed over to the community in September 2014, and has since become a busy and well known landmark on the Jaffna coast-line.
After watching an early morning fish auction in progress, the US Embassy team chatted with the fishermen and fish-sellers, and met with the president of the Fisheries Society
The fish auction replaced what was a very basic structure, and has made a significant difference to the income of both local fishermen and the fish sellers, with business increasing by 30-40%. Seafood commands high prices in the south of Sri Lanka and traders come from as far as Negombo and Colombo to buy up Jaffna’s famous prawns and crab.
The fishermen particularly appreciate having a clean hygienic environment in which to display their catch. Previously they had to lay out the fish on a sandy floor, and customers would complain about the “dirty” fish.
Whilst business has improved with the new auction hall, the fishermen still face some problems, one of which is the need for new anchor points for the dry season, as the usual anchorages are inaccessible.