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Rs. 300m to develop inland fisheries and aquaculture



Minister Senaratne distributes fishing equipment to a fisherman.

The Fisheries Ministry has allocated Rs. 300 million to develop inland fish and aquaculture industry in the Northern and Eastern province, the Ministry sources said. The fisheries industry recorded the biggest income of Rs. 83,928 million last year, as a result of rapid development programs implemented in the fisheries sector including the North and East after the elimination of LTTE, the Ministry said.

The fisheries industry will play a significant role in reducing malnutrition in this country. The elimination of the LTTE has helped the Government to achieve its goal, as the North and East consists of two thirds of Sri Lankan waters, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources development Ministry sources said.

Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne during his recent visit to Japan has held several rounds of talks with Japanese authorities and multi national trade giant "Tuna King" Kiyoshi Kimura in Tokyo with a view obtaining assistance from the Japanese Government to expedite development projects in the fisheries sector.

The Fisheries Ministry also plans to purchase 90 fishing vessels for the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation to increase the fish harvest.

The Government is developing all fisheries harbours, jetties and anchorages along the coastal belt under the Mahinda Chinthanaya national development concept.

Hikkaduwa, Beruwela, Paranawella, and Mirissa fisheries harbours in the Southern coastal belt are being developed to international standards to accommodate international vessels, an officer of the Fisheries Ministry said.

The Government has implemented a 10-year development program to develop the fresh water fisheries industry.


A view of the developed Valachchenai Fisheries harbour.

The Iranamadu reservoir will also be developed to accommodate more fingerlings to increase the fish harvest.

In addition, the National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) has taken steps to set up a fish breeding centre in a 30-acre land area.

Meanwhile NAQDA has released over 150,000 fingerlings to the Udayarkadduwa reservoir, in the Puthukudirippu Divisional Secretariat division.

Minister Senaratne also distributed canoes, nets and other fishing equipments worth Rs. 2.2 million to fresh water fishermen in the district during his visit to Mullaitivu.

The Fisheries Ministry has released 3.5 million fingerlings to the reservoirs in the Northern and Eastern provinces in 2010 with the support of NAQDA.

Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Rajitha Senaratne distributed 20 fibreglass canoes, 300 cartoons of fishing nets and six computers worth Rs. 3 million to fresh water fishermen in the Ampara district.

The Fisheries Ministry has taken steps to set up Namal Oya community centre at a cost Rs. 2.4 million.


Minister Senaratne in discussions with fisheries sector officers.

Minister Dr. Senaratne presents a fishing net to a fisherman, Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame looks on.

Before the emergence of the LTTE, fishermen in the North and East contributed 43 percent out of the total fish harvest of this country but it decreased to 8 percent during the period the region was in the clutches of the LTTE.

Since 2009, after the elimination of LTTE, the fish harvest in both provinces started to increase gradually as a result of promotions carried out by the Fisheries Ministry. Now the fishermen in the North East contribute to 16 percent, the Fisheries Ministry said.

The Fisheries Ministry hopes to increase the fish harvest from North and East to 23 percent by the end of next year, a responsible officer of the Fisheries Ministry said.

Meanwhile the Ministry also plans to increase the fish export to 38,000 metric tonnes by the end of next year.

The Fisheries Ministry has allocated Rs. 855 million to develop the off shore fisheries industry in the North and East.

The development projects being implemented in the fisheries sector will place the North and East to the previous state that prevailed before the emergence of the LTTE very soon.

The Fisheries Ministry hopes to double the fish harvest from the North and East in a couple of years. Other industries depending on the fisheries industry have also been developed the Fisheries Ministry said.

The Jaffna District Fisheries Department office which was set up on a concept by Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne is working round the clock to improve the industry in the region including the well-being of fishermen.

Meanwhile, the Fisheries Ministry has distributed boats, canoes, fish crates, bicycles and other needed equipment among the fisheries community in the North at a cost of Rs. 18 million, the Ministry sources said.

In addition, Minister Dr. Senaratne granted loan assistance to 200 fishermen in the North, each Rs. 100,000.

Re-construction work of the Gurunagar Jetty is progressing, the Fisheries Ministry said.

Minister Senarathne has also instructed the relevant authorities to give priority to qualified unemployed youth in the region when there are vacancies in the fisheries sector.

The Fisheries Ministry has spent around Rs. 50 million with assistance from the Post-Tsunami Coastal Rehabilitation and The Resource Management Program under the purview of the International Funds for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to provide fishery vessels, equipment and loans for the fishery community in Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Kilinochchi districts.

The Fish Landing Centre Development project governed by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) spent Rs. 45.3 million to develop fish landing centres in the Mayladi, Kallapadu and Silavatturai and landing centres in Mullaitivu.

Rupees 52.8 million was spent to develop 11 fish landing centres in Mannar, Batticaloa and Ampara districts and to improve the infrastructure facilities in those areas.

The Fisheries Ministry spent nearly Rs. 30 million to develop five fish landing centres in the Trincomalee district and to distribute motor cycles, computers and other modern technical equipment to the fishery offices in the Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Kalmunai, Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee districts.

The Post-tsunami Coastal Rehabilitation and Resource Management Program has allocated Rs. 94 million to build a wholesale fish trade centre in the Trincomalee district. Construction is underway on the instructions of Deputy Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Susantha Punchinilame.

Besides the Fisheries Ministry has spent nearly Rs. 37 million with the assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to develop the Katthankudi fish landing centre and the District Fishery Office in the Batticaloa district.

A large number of fisheries sector development projects being implemented by the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry countrywide will be completed by the end of next year, an officer attached to the Fisheries Ministry said.

Meanwhile the Fisheries Ministry is paying close attention to improve the living standards of fishermen while protecting their privileges, according to Minister Dr. Senaratne.

The Fisheries Ministry plans to introduce a separate pension scheme for fishermen, a spokesman of the Fisheries Ministry said.

After retirement a fisherman can draw a monthly pension of Rs. 10,000 until he attains the age of 78, the spokesman said.

The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka and the Bank of Ceylon has signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the pension scheme.

Around 169,460 fishermen throughout the country will benefit with the implementation of this new pension scheme, according to Minister Rajitha Senaratne.

A fisherman can enter this scheme at the age of 18 and should contribute until he attains 55.

Every month Rs. 300 should be paid until retirement. In case the fisherman dies the scheme will be transferred to his wife until the age of 70.

Details of fishermen's pension scheme can be obtained from any branch of the Bank of Ceylon, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and District offices of the National Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka.

The Fisheries Ministry has introduced a special insurance scheme from Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 300,000 for fishermen.

A fisherman will be entitled to the benefits of this insurance scheme by paying a monthly premium of Rs. 5,000, Fisheries Ministry sources said.

The Fisheries Ministry plans to launch a housing program for fishermen by 2014.

Plans are afoot to provide boats, fishing nets and other fisheries equipment on a soft loan basis, the Fisheries Ministry said.

The marine fisheries sector including coastal and deep sea contributed to around 86 percent in 2009, Fisheries Ministry sources said.

The coastal fisheries industry contributed to more than half of the total fish production, according to Fisheries Ministry sources.

The sources added that deep sea fishing contributed to 33 percent in the same year while fresh water fisheries industry to 14 percent.

The fisheries industry recorded an annual growth of 1.1 percent between 2005 to 2009.

The highest fish harvest of 340,000 metric tonnes was recorded in 2009. Following the tsunami catastrophe, fish sales dropped to 163,000 metric tonnes in 2005, the Fisheries Ministry said.

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