Safer, stronger and better small-scale fishing vessels

Co-Creation Challenges



Name of team FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Division
Our Partner Ministry of Fisheries of Sri Lanka

Country or countries of your activity

Sri Lanka

Themes of Activity

Science and technology, biotechnology

Safety, crime prevention, security


Ocean, water

Agriculture, forestry, fishery

Disaster prevention and mitigation

Overseas support and cooperation, international exchange

Our Co-Creation Challenge

Every year hundreds of thousands of small-scale fishers get accidents at sea and the number of fatalities runs in the tens of thousands. Overexploitation of coastal fisheries resources requires the fishers to operate further off-shore, where the waves are higher and it is more difficult to return to port when storms are approaching. Climate change effects on the weather add to the dangers at sea for those fishers.
Safer and stronger small-scale fishing boats can safe the lives of thousands of fishers.

The Ministry of Fisheries of Sri Lanka requested FAO to design a safer, stronger and better small-scale fishing vessel, in view of the many small-scale fishers lives lost at sea and the challenges posed by climate change (e.g. higher waves, fast weather changes). FAO did so and discussed the design changes with the key stakeholders, the fishers, boat builders and the Government. Two demonstration vessels of 20 and 23ft in length were built in 2023 and handed over in December 2023 to the Ministry, along with the mould to build more of these vessels in series. The fibreglass reinforced plastic (FRP) boat builders were trained by FAO in better construction practices through 2 practical workshops. Moreover, a manual was developed and construction standards were translated in Tamil and Sinhala languages. The Dhanusha shipyard in Sri Lanka requested the Ministry to get the mould on loan to build another 50 vessels for the fishers. Particularly on the east coast there is demand among fishers for the 23ft version. More info can be found in the brochure: . An FAO news item and a video were also produced. The boat designs are available for free download from FAO’s Fishing Vessel Design Database, which contains over 230 fishing vessel designs.

The Expo will be instrumental in disseminating the design and best-practice approaches used in the design and construction of the small-scale fishing vessels to other countries, and will help us in the Blue transformation of the fisheries sector.

Development of initiatives

Methods and Areas for Future Development FAO would like to disseminate the design of safer, stronger and better fishing vessels world-wide and encourage shipyards to make use of better construction standards and to build similar boats that are unsinkable, provide more stability and have a longer lifespan. Our focus is on disseminiating the designs to small-island developing states (SIDS) in the Pacific and Caribbean regions, where there is a lot of demand for better and safer fishing vessels. It is recognized however that the vessel designs will be useful for small-scale fishers elswhere as well, such as in Eastern Africa, South Asia, South-east Asia and Central American countries.
People who wish to work with Ministries and departments of fisheries
Maritime safety authorities
Shipyards, naval architects and boat builders
Fisherfolk organizations

Our SDGs