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Title: Environmental impact assessment fish packing and processing facility Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd Hulhumalé Industrial Zone
Authors: Adam, M. Shiham
Keywords: Description of the project
Legislative and policy consideration
Existing environment conditions
Impact prediction and analysis
Environmental monitoring
Stakeholder consultation
Issue Date: Apr-2013
Citation: Adam, M. S. (2013). Environmental impact assessment fish packing and processing facility Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd Hulhumalé Industrial Zone. Male': Maldives
Abstract: 1. The requirement for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd (MMP) came in late 2012 when the company applied to renew its Fish Processing License for 2013. The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (MoFA) informed that under the EIA Regulation Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd should undertake an environmental impact assessment study for the development activity according to a communication from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report is something that has to be done before the development take place, but in order to comply with the regulation the MoFA requested that a report should be submitted to EPA and the necessary environmental clearance be obtained. 2. During 2006 Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd submitted a Project Proposal as per guideline provided by the erstwhile the Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources (MoFAMR). The report titled ‘Proposal to establish a Fresh Fish Packing Facility at Hulhumalé Industrial Zone’ was submitted in January 2006. Following approval by the MoFAMR, the factory was constructed and the operation of the facility started in early 2007. Until December 2012, no government department or office has asked MMP that and EIA should be undertaken for the factory to comply with the government regulations. 3. The produce of the MMP packing facility is variety of fresh yellowfin products (loins, gill and gutted, head and gutted, frozen loins, frozen) for export to EU-Territories and to USA. As such the factory is audited and assessed for EU-compliance by the National Competent Authority of EU- The Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA). The factory has an approved HACCP plan endorsed by the MFDA prior to the construction of the factory. Following the completion the factory dry runs of the entire production process was undertaken to ensure the process followed the approved HACCP plan. The factory is inspected twice a year by the MFDA and Compliance Licence is renewed one every six months. 4. Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd has regularly renewed the ‘Fish Processing License’ introduced by MoFA in 2010 under the new regulation on ‘Fishing for Sale of Fish to Exporters, Fish Processing and Aquaculture Licensing’. Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd has also acquired ISO certification 22000:2005 ISO. This standard deals with the requirements for a food safety management system where an organization in the food chain needs to demonstrate its ability to control food safety hazards in order to ensure that food is safe at the time of human consumption. 5. Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd is established on a land area of roughly 5,500 m2 in the Hulhumalé Industrial Zone. When the land was leased from HDC during 2006 there was no electricity, water or a sewerage system in the area. The proponent managed them until the STELO and MWSC established those services. However, the proponent continues to produce electricity and water for its use in the facility. To provide the full range of services the facility has 7 buildings including the housing for ice plants (5 of them), power generators and the control room with sync panels and the reverse osmosis (RO) water production plants (2 units). In addition to factory floor, office space, accommodation for expatriate and site staff, kitchen and canteen area all are within the compound forming fully self-contained fish packing plant. 6. When the services of MWSC’s sewerage system were available sewage and greywater from kitchen and staff canteens were connected to the sewerage system. At the time of this writing the proponent has obtained permit from the MWSC for connecting the blood water stream. Once connected the proponent will do away with the series of septic tanks/ soak pits that were used earlier. Source water for the RO plant is extracted from the ground through a borehole well below any fresh water that may have formed since the reclamation of Hulhumalé Island. The reject water from the plants is released to western side into the lagoon. Turbulence by wind and wave energy creates conditions for rapid mixing diluting the brine water almost immediately. 7. The water production plants and power generation systems require registration at EPA and Maldives Energy Authority respectively. To accommodate the process environmental impact of the plants were assessed and audited. Where necessary, mitigation measures were proposed. The proponent declares the buildings that house both these services are temporary. There are plans to relocate the power gen sets and RO plants to a new building constructed on a plot adjacent to Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd that belongs to a subsidiary company of the proponent. It was found that one ice plant uses the refrigerant R22, which is not fully compliant with government’s HCFC reduction policies. However, others use 404A, which has zero global warming potential. The proponent has plans to decommission this plant in the coming year. 8. The raw material for the production is yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) purchased entirely from the Maldivian fishermen. Fishing is conducted on local vessel from handline gear using livebait. Over 200 different vessels have sold fish to Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd over the last year. Ice is given free of charge as incentive for fishing and to encourage loyalty to the company. In addition the proponent has provided iceboxes and sometimes start-up money for staring the large yellowfin handline line fishing. 9. Fish are landed are gill and gutted and bled and so the amount of fish offal produced is minimal. The company who is assigned for disposing the fish waste harvests any left over after fish cuttings (heads, off-cuts, blood meat, and vertebrae). Only skin, fins and tail are thrown. Lower quality fish including belly flaps and fish eyes are packed for local consumption to be sold in local shops. 10. Maldive Marine Products Pvt Ltd contributes significantly to improving socioeconomic conditions of the fishing community and support secondary activities (fuel, fresh water, food etc). Together with the seven other fish packing companies exporting to EU-Territories and USA makes a significant foreign currency input to the economy. By exporting roughly 10,000 mt of processed fresh yellowfin tuna products the sector contributes about US$ 55 million per year, which is about 50% of the total declared marine export revenue. 11. The overall positive environmental impact from the development project was noted. The job creation in the island communities and the impact that is making in the visible exports is a significant positive environmental impact of this activity. The long-term sustainability of the activity however, will depend on the sustainability of the fish stock. Yellowfin tuna is highly migratory and its stock is spread out to the entire Indian Ocean. The stock is being managed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission which Maldives is now a full member. The current status of the stock is healthy and the total catch is below the assessed maximum sustainable level. The Maldives fishery component takes only 7-8% of the total Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna catch which is currently around 300,00 mt.
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