|Sunday, 16 October 2005|
Oversupply of small craft detrimental to fishermen
by Elmo Leonard
There is now an oversupply of 2200 small fishing craft of the 6-7 metre FRP Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic type, stemming from ad hoc replacement of fishing craft destroyed and damaged following the December tsunami.
The error is on the part of the NGOs and aid agencies operating in tsunami hit areas in a bid to put the island's fishers back to work, according to the FAO, which is involved in financing the resurgence of the fisheries sectors across Asia.
This has put a further strain on the dwindling stocks of coastal fisheries around the island and will prove to be highly detrimental to the large number of poor fishermen who depend on coastal fisheries for their livelihood.
Director General of the Department of Fisheries, G. Piyasena said that some of the 2200 FRP boats are not yet supplied to fishermen. The Fisheries Ministry was doing all it could to limit the number of small fishing craft being "replaced" by such organisations.
The FAO which is closely monitoring the supply of new fishing craft has no plans to replace traditional and FRP outboard motor board craft.
Sri Lanka is in great need of multiday fishing craft to supply both her domestic and export needs and the FAO has agreed to support the Ministry's program for replacement of large boats, Piyasena said. The total number of fishing craft repaired to date, following damage by the Asian tsunami is 8,926. The FAO's contribution to the repair of boats, excluding that of engines and fishing gear is $1.5 million.
A situation report has just been put out by the Ministry of Fisheries and FAO, Piyasena said. The total number of multiday boats repaired is 633 of 676 damaged from a fleet of 1581 which existed prior to the tsunami.
Cey-Nor Foundation Ltd, the state run boat and fishnet manufacturing organisation had repaired 499 boats and the remaining 134 were repaired by other organisations. Of 3 1/2 tonne fishing craft, the total repaired is 759 of 783 damaged and Cey-Nor had repaired 633.
Of 6-7 metre FRP boats - 4,041 craft were restored to date, with Cey-Nor having renovated 1,368 and other organisations, 2,673.
Traditional craft restored 3,043 of which Cey-Nor had repaired half of that number.
Beach seine craft made seaworthy to date makes up 90, of which Cey-Nor had completed 40 thus far.
The total number of engines repaired to date make up 2,663 which includes inboard and outboard engines. Cey-Nor had attended to 1,091 boats and the private sector to 1,572 engines. The FAO had thus far incurred or committed to an expenditure of $1 million, a FAO spokesman said.
The highest number of fishing boat engines repaired is in the Trincomalee district, making up 216, of which 182 are the outboard types.
In the Galle district, 189 engines were restored, followed by Hambantota, 185, Ampara 160, Mullaitivu 67 (all outboard engines) Kalutara 75 Matara 61, Colombo, 41 and Gampaha 18.
The FAO has so far spent $86,000 for the procurement of outboard motor board engines. This makes up 125 of the 15 horse power (HP) (100 supplied); 260 of 9.9 HP (69 supplied); 270 of 8 hp (103 supplied).
The expenses spent or committed for fishing gear is $475,215, Piyasena said.
Produced by Lake House