February 05, 2023
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    Solutions for fishing community issues arising from purchasing fish from foreign vessels

    March 04, 2020

    The previous government had registered foreign fishing vessels and commenced the purchase of fish from these vessels. However, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda intends to take measures to halt the purchasing of fish from these foreign vessels.

    During a meeting held between Minister Devananda, members of the multi-day trawler owners’ association and several other fishery associations, the minister had agreed to find solutions to several issues they face.

    The President had held a meeting on February 26th with the multi-day trawler owners association members and fish exporters association where they had presented their issues to the president and he in turn had assured them he would take measures to resolve these issues.

     

    Due to the previous government granting permission to 35 foreign vessels to supply fish to Sri Lanka, the local fish suppliers owning multi-day trawlers have not been able to obtain a fair price for their fish stocks. As a result, these local fishermen and their families are facing a grave crisis, the fisher association representatives had told the minister.
    Therefore, Minister Devananda had assured the local fishing association members that he would discuss this matter with the foreign fishing vessel companies and provide the local fishermen a solution within a week. The minister had also assured that once the licenses of the foreign fishing vessels lapses, he would reconsider renewing their licenses.

    It was also decided to provide vessel monitoring systems (VMS) and Refrigerated Sea Water (RSW) systems facilities to the local multi-day trawler owners as soon as possible in a bid to further improve their capacity and efficiency.

    It was also decided to gradually decrease the services of foreign fishing trawlers and increase the local multi-day fishing vessels by upgrading their capacity and efficiency in a bid to gradually increase the fish supply of local fish suppliers and export their stocks thereby obtaining much needed foreign exchange to the country.

    It was also decided to restructure and improve the Fisheries Corporation, especially their cold storage facilities. Until these cold storage facilities are upgraded, cold rooms would be leased from private suppliers and the government would purchase fish at fair prices from the local fish suppliers in order to give them a fair price for their stocks.
    Further, it was also decided during the meeting with the President on February 26th to rectify all corruption and irregularities taking place at the Fisheries Corporation and provide a better service to the fishing industry in the future.

    The Fisheries Minister also assured that such corruption or irregularities would not be tolerated within the Fisheries Corporation in the future.

    Meanwhile, the representatives of the fishing associations said that if the government mediates in discussing with the Fisheries Corporation officials and provides better cold storage facilities for the fisher communities and implements a proper purchasing mechanism, this would provide the fishing communities great relief.

     

    -NN

     

     

     

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