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Salt Based Dry Fish Processing and Marketing by Fishers of Minneriya Reservoir in Sri Lanka

Postgraduate Institute of Agricluture (PGIA)
Publication Date
  • Agriculture
  • Animal Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Carcass Recovery
  • Marketing
  • Salting
  • Sun Drying
  • Biology
  • Communication


Fish represent a major source of animal protein in the Sri Lankan diet. However, it is more susceptible to spoilage than other animal food. The objectives of this study were to determine the scientific basis of the preparation and the selection of freshwater fish species for dry fish production and to analyze the profitability of dry fish marketing in Minneriya. Data were collected by on-site observations and interviews with randomly selected five dry fish sellers, twenty involved fishermen and fifty consumers using a semistructured questionnaire. Salting and sun drying are the main fish preservation methods in this area and consumer preference for dry fish is significantly high. For processing, small (6.875-8.750 cm) and damaged fish are collected, split ventrally, and the gut and skin are removed completely. Fish are then washed thoroughly and salted at a ratio of 1:3 (salt:fish), mixed well and packed into plastic buckets (20L) and kept for 2-3 day. The salted fish are then spread on large stones and sun dried. Puntius filamentosus, Oreochromis mossambicus, O. niloticus, Glossogobius giuris, Channa striatus, Hyporhamphus limbatus and Etroplus suratensis are used for dry fish preparation. Carcass recovery of fish was 33.3%. Dry fish was sold to grocery stores at Minneriya and to the Dambulla market, with a profit of Rs. 255/- per kg and a market margin of 72.9%. The findings indicate that dry fish marketing is a profitable, low cost option for small-scale producers in Minneriya. The quality of the final product could be improved by educating fishermen to use clean water and quality salt for processing and by introducing simple equipment such as solar or artificial dryers for drying, thus preventing contamination and dependence on weather conditions. Tropical Agricultural Research Vol. 23 (4): 357-362 (2012) DOI:

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