“The fisheries sector, which was not considered a part of the economy in the past, will enter global market in a big way under new plans

The Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the fisheries sector, which was not considered a part of the economy in the past, will enter global market in a big way under new plans made by the government. He said this when the first multi-day fishing vessel with cooling systems was launched from Dikowita fishing port on 01.03.2023, which was introduced as a pilot project to safely bring the fish harvested from the sea to the land.

This pilot project was initiated to reduce post-harvest losses with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This pilot project was implemented as a joint venture of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, NARA (National Aquatic Resources Research and Development
Agency, NERD (National Engineering Research and Development Centre) and Cey-Nor Foundation Ltd.

Delivering the key note address the Prime Minister commented that "An important breakthrough was made today to protect the fisheries produce that our fishermen get from the sea. We have to challenge the problem that has been there for a long time. 40 %- 60% of our fish produce is wasted when it is brought to land so that we cannot get a 100 % income. The supply is decreased that way but the cost faced by the fisherman does not diminish. It is a big revolution to manufacture a machine to protect the large amount of fish produced mechanically by motor boats and multi-day fishing boats and to be utilized by fishermen”.

As much as we could reduce our waste, the degree of our success increases. The innovation transforms the process into a huge boost not only in the income of the fisherman but also in the progress of his livelihood, he further added.

“We have got the opportunity to export our fish products to the European Union. We must ensure not only the taste but also the quality of the product we provide. That is why the number of countries requesting Sri Lanka’s fish production is increasing”.

The Minister of Fisheries Mr. Douglas Devananda, explained the gathering that, "The fishing community has many problems. We are committed to address those problems. There are about twenty-seven thousand fishing boats that operate on kerosene in our country. Due to the increase in the price of kerosene, the livelihood of the fishermen is in danger. On the other hand, it has not been possible to provide fish at low prices to the local consumers.

Therefore, we are ready to introduce a modern device in the future to reduce the cost. This battery-operated device makes it possible to catch fish at a low cost. A programme has been implemented to protect the resources of the sea with proper management. This will help protect marine resources while increasing livelihoods. We are also taking some steps in relation to fresh water fishing industry. It is our endeavor to achieve these goals in the coming year."

Mr. Piyal Nishantha, State Minister of Fisheries also took part at the occasion and highlighted that the government is in the process of putting in place an insurance system and a retirement scheme for the welfare of the fishermen. For the education of their children and the safety of the fishermen, an account system has also been introduced. A great deal of work is being done to solve the problems of the fishermen by approaching the fishermen themselves.

“We are introducing this new project to prevent further damage to fish resources. This is a pilot project. This pilot project has the potential to usher in a golden era in the fishing industry of our country,” he said.

A group of officials including the State Ministers Sisira Jayakodi and Prasanna Ranaweera, Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries Indu Ratnayake, Assistant Representative of World Food and Agriculture Organization Nalin Munasinghe, President of National Engineering Research and Development Center (NERD) Professor S. U. Adhikari and others participated at this event.