Fisheries sector must increase exports as there is a massive demand for fish in Europe – Prime Minister

Prime mister Dinesh Gunawardena said there is a growing demand for fish products in Europe as well as in countries including Japan ad Sri Lankan fishing sector could cater to that demand by increasing fish production. He added that Cey-Nor Foundation, as the largest boat builders in Sri Lanka could make a major contribution by expanding fiber boat production.

Speaking at the 55th anniversary celebrations of the Cey Nor Foundation at Sri Lanka Foundation in Colombo today (May 8), he said Sri Lanka should use sea resources including fish as the future lies in increasing export of new products.

Launching the Cey-Nor website and the 5-year development plan, the Prime Minister said no establishment could grow without a plan of action and it is very important that Cey-Nor has presented a new 5 year plan for expansion of its operations, which will be of much benefit to the economy of the country.

“For two centuries we exported traditional products like tea and rubber. Similarly we can export fish to European market to earn valuable foreign exchange. There is a demand for Sri Lankan fish in Europe as well as in Japan. We are unable to meet that demand. There is a need for freezer facilities to preserve fish. Cey-Nor should expand fiber boats with freezer facilities and they can also use new technologies such as solar power for multi-day vessels,” he said.

The Prime Minister said it is essential to solve issues through dialogue and reach international agreements to expand fishing. He said Minister Douglas Devananda succeeded in solving the issue of Sri Lankan vessels crossing international boundaries by obtaining signal- emitting equipment for fishing vessels to ensure thy adhere to navigation laws under international maritime regulations.

Premier Gunawardena congratulated the Cey-Nor management, engineers, technicians and workers for their success and commitment, and assured the government support for them.

Minister Douglas Devananda recalled that under the rehabilitation program in the North & Karainagar in 2009, the government invested in rehabilitating Cey – Nor Karainagar boat yard. He said Cey-Nor could expand boat production to serve not only the fishing industry but also tourism sector as the demand for Whale-watching boats has increased.

State Minister Piyal Nishantha de Silva said it is most appropriate that Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena attended this function as Chief Guest because it was his father late Philip Gunawardena who initiated Cey-Nor boat-building project as the then Minister of Industries in 1967. He said the 5-year plan will ensure rapid growth of Cey-Nor in its services to the fisheries and tourism sector and the national economy.

Prime Minister presented awards to several employees of Cey-Nor who completed 25 years of service.

Ven Kirinde Assaji Thera of Gangaramaya, Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, Manusha Nanayakkara, Parliamentarian Yadamini Gunawardena, Fisheries Secretary Indu Ratnayake and Cey-Nor Chairman Dulan Hettiarachchi were also present on this occasion.