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Maharashtra: Fisherfolk along Gorai-Uttan belt opt for fibre vessels February 14,2017   |  Source: The Times of India

A sea change is unfurling on the coast of Gorai, Manori and Uttan. The traditional wooden boats that once lined these shores are sinking into oblivion as fibreglass has become the material of choice for boatmakers and fishermen. Cheaper, quicker to build, and non-degradable, these slick ships now dominate the area's fishing fleet. Fisherman Raymond Patil used to have a fleet of traditional teakwood boats 10 years ago but despite a 25% subsidy on the vessels, he stopped buying them. "Each time my wooden boat had to be scrapped, I replaced it with a fibreglass one," says the sixty-something Patil.

"Fibreglass boats have made fishing more profitable," says Gorai boatmaker Clyde Henriques. He first experimented with fibreglass canoes a couple of decades ago. He then moved on to building larger boats with the material, procured from Navi Mumbai and Hyderabad. Today, he makes three to four boats a month, and has a long waiting list of customers. "Once they go out, they hardly come back for repairs," he says. A fibreglass-hulled fishing boat costs about Rs 20 lakh, less than half the price of a wooden boat. It lasts about 40 years, almost twice as long as a wooden boat. And it can be built quickly. Once the design is selected, says Henriques, the mould is prepared and the hull is

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)