|How to Make Fish Drying Racks (NRI, 1991, 8 p.)|
Drying racks can usually be made, at very little cost, from locally available materials such as bamboo, tree branches etc. The racks should be positioned in an exposed place with good winds and low humidity. They must be kept away from trees and areas such as rubbish dumps and processing yards which attract large numbers of insects and animals.
Figure I shows a rack with a flat top. To make the rack, 160 cm lengths of timber should be cut. These are then buried in the ground to a depth of about 60 cm. They are arranged about 100 cm apart in two lines, the distance between the posts being the width of the drying rack. Lighter pieces of wood or bamboo are fixed between the top of the posts. Material, such as chicken wire, mosquito netting, old fishing nets, reeds or coconut matting, is then fixed to these canes to support the fish.
A flat-topped drying rack is used for small fish and for fillets and steaks.
Figure 2 shows a rack with a sloping top. Its construction is similar to the flat-top rack. However a taller pole is used in the centre or on one side of the rack to form a rack with a double or single slope. By altering the height of the taller pole, the angle of the rack can be changed.
A drying rack with a sloping top is suitable for split fish. This allows any water which collects in the gut or gill cavities to drain away. To prevent the fish sliding down the slope they are hooked on to the supporting material by their gill covers.
The two racks shown in Figures I and 2 are permanent structures. However, many fishing villages have to be constantly moving in search of fish.
Figure 3 shows a drying rack that can be quickly built and taken apart. It is made of bamboo or branches.
Figure 4 shows another portable drying rack. This rack would also be suitable for demonstration by extension workers.