Fisheries sector will play a key role in global market - PM | Daily News

Fisheries sector will play a key role in global market - PM

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena with Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and State Minister of Fisheries Piyal Nishantha.
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena with Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and State Minister of Fisheries Piyal Nishantha.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the fisheries sector which was not considered a part of the economy in the past will enter the global market in a big way under new plans made by the Government.

He was speaking when the first multi-day fishing vessel with cooling systems was launched from the Dikowita Fishing Port on January 3 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 Organisation 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 keynote 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 overcome the perennial problem of about 40 %- 60% of our fish produce being 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,” Prime Minister Gunawardena said. “If 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 for Sri Lankan fish is on the increase,” he said. Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said that the fishing community has many problems. We are committed to addressing those problems. There are about 27,000 fishing boats that operate on kerosene in our country. Due to the increase in the price of kerosene, the livelihood of 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 freshwater fishing industry. It is our endeavour to achieve these goals in the coming year,” Minister Devananda said.

State Minister of Fisheries Piyal Nishantha highlighted that the Government is in the process of putting in place an insurance system and a retirement scheme for the welfare of fishermen. An account system has also been introduced for the education of their children and the safety of fishermen. 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 Organisation Nalin Munasinghe, President of National Engineering Research and Development Center (NERD) Professor S. U. Adhikari and others participated.


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