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Title: Environmental impact assessment fish packing and processing facility Euroglobal Maldives Pvt Ltd Huraa, North Malé Atoll
Authors: Adam, M. Shiham
Riyaz, Mahmood
Keywords: Description of the project
Legislative and policy consideration
Existing environment conditions
Impact prediction and analysis
Environmental monitoring
Stakeholder consultation
Issue Date: Mar-2013
Citation: Adam, M. S. and Riyaz, M. (2013). Environmental impact assessment fish packing and processing facility Euroglobal Maldives Pvt Ltd Huraa, North Malé Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: 1. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently noted some fish processing facilities in operation do not have environmental clearance for their projects. EPA informed Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture that all fisheries projects should have submitted the Decision Note on environmental clearance before issuing the Fish Processing License. 2. Euroglobal Maldives Pvt Ltd established on island of K. Huraa Island falls under this category. Originally built and owned by the erstwhile HMS Pvt Ltd, Euroglobal acquired the facility during November 2009. There were no records of an EIA for Huraa’s fish processing and packing facility by HMS either. When Euroglobal Pvt Ltd appeared to renew its Fish Processing License, the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture issued a temporary Fish Processing license and requested to undertake EIA for the project. 3. The work of Euroglobal Maldives Pvt Ltd is essentially packing fresh yellowfin tuna (Thynnus albacares) in variety of forms and exporting to EU-Territories and the USA. Their main products are gill and gutted, head and gutted, loins and fillets. The lowgrade tuna and off-cuttings including belly flaps, trimming are sold in Malé outlets through their agents in Malé. Fresh yellowfin tuna are sourced from Maldivian fishermen fishing from local boats. The catch is exclusively caught from the handline method which used livebait, but has little of no-by catch. The fish are gill and gutted and bled before storing in ice boxes. Trips may last 10-14 days fish normally sold for the highest offer, currently range from MVR 65-160 per kg. 4. The fish processing and packing facility is located on the north western corner of reclaimed area of Huraa, at the northern end of the urbanized area. The landing and access to the facility faces to the north which also happens to be the mouth of the mangrove area – Kulhi, which is a protected site. Tidal currents flow along the seawall in an out of the mangrove area. The area, slightly west, is also where the fishing vessel alongside the sea-wall for landing the catch. Sediment run off from the mangrove area has made the area shallower almost completely exposing during low tide. The area also has a seagrass bed on the western side nourished (and fertilized) by the nutrients run off from the mangrove area. 5. The waste water stream from the factory is released directly to the area, in front of the mouth into the tidal stream. Waste water includes, sewage mixed with water released from the collection septic tank, blood water mixed with drainage from the factory floors and reject (brine) water from RO plants. Because the area is shallow little water mixing takes place causing eutrophication and foul smell. Water quality tests show high nutrient load (sulphate + ammonia). As a result water quality test showed high BOD and excessive counts of coliform colonies and faecal coliforms. It was recommended to make direct connection to Huraa sewerage network or pump the waste stream outside reef into deep water into the channel. 6. The water production and power generation takes place in the compound. Two diesel generators with 500kvA capacity are in operation. A diesel fuel tank on a metal frame outside the power house serves the fuel to the generators. However, signs of oil spill during filling and change of oil filters was evident on the ground. These were identified as impacts and remedial measures were proposed. Water production takes place from two RO plants. Electricity from domestic grid is also present but due to high electricity demand during ice and water production it has not been possible to use effectively the local power supply. 7. Feed water for RO plant and ice production is sourced from the lagoon on the western side of the facility. The intake pipe is placed in a concrete well with the granite aggregate serving as a sand filter. Intake from the sea is difficult to main and prone to contamination given that intake is actually not far from the polluted are on the northern side. It was recommended to install a bore-hole for sourcing water for the plants. Water production is supplemented by rainwater harvest from the roof of the main building. There is about 50,000 Litres of water storage on the site. Both water plant and power generation plant required to be registered in EPA and Maldives Energy Authority respectively. 8. There are three ice plants with a total capacity of 150 MT/day. Again sea-water from the lagoon is used as feed water. Ice is given to fishermen free of charge, but only for fishermen who sell their catch. 9. Raw material (fresh fish) is supplied by the Maldivian fishermen who conduct fishing in local vessel with local crew. During 2012, record show some 150 unique vessel sold fish to Euroglobal Pvt. Ltd. During the initial stages of these processing companies supported fishermen on condition of selling the catch to facilities. Euroglobal Pvt Lrd provided icebox and start-up capital was provided. 10. The economic activity been done don by the Euroglobal is highly profitable. At present some US$ 40million per year is declared at the Customs which represents close to 50% of the total marine export earnings to the country. Although there are no accurate records at MoFA, 50% of the licensed fishing vessel (total ~750) is likely to be exclusively handline yellowfin fishing vessels. This gives the scale of this activity and positive socioeconomic impact from this activity. 11. An indirect impact from the work of Euroglobal Pvt Ltd would be the potential negative impact to the yellowfin tuna stock. Yellowfin tuna is considered to be straddling and highly migratory and the stock is distributed across to the entire Indian Ocean. However, since the current catches from Maldives represent only 7-8% of the total Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna catch (~300,000 MT/year) local harvesting levels may not cause much impact at the current level of fishing mortality. 12. Taking together all the activities of the Euroglobal Pvt Ltd (the main work of the sourcing fish, cutting, cleaning and packing and the support activities of producing electricity, water, ice and waste) the positive environmental impact far outweighs the negative impacts from the waste. These impacts can be made reversible and remedied. If the recommendation and mitigation measures are implemented, the development project of Euroglobal Pvt Ltd should be environmentally sound.
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