“Fisheries sector needs proper infrastructure facilities” | Sunday Observer

“Fisheries sector needs proper infrastructure facilities”

22 November, 2020

Following continuous deception by successive governments, the fisheries industry cannot keep its faith on budgetary allocation for the development of the industry, President of the All Ceylon Fisher Folk Trade Union, Aruna Roshantha told Sunday Observer Business.

The government proposed to grant a five-year tax exemption for key industries including fisheries through the 2021 Budget.

“Successive governments for the past couple of decades had ignored the real issues of the fisheries community,” Roshantha said.

He said the fishing community does not ask for subsidies from the government but proper infrastructure facilities.

“For instance, we want the government to bring laws to prohibit dumping sewage and other waste into the sea. We also want the government to ban the use of illegal fishing gear,” Roshantha said.

The second wave of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka had a major hit on the fisheries industry as the main Peliyagoda fish market became one of the several centres of the second wave of the virus.

As a result the local fish consumption has drastically reduced in the past few weeks.

State Minister of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish and Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multi day Fishing Activities and Fish Exports, Kanchana Wijesekara assured a few weeks ago that the government has implemented a program to purchase seafood from the fishermen as an immediate solution to the problem.

Meanwhile, former deputy Minister of Fisheries and Hambantota district (SJB) Parliamentarian Dilip Wedarachchi ate raw fish at a press conference in Colombo recently to encourage people to eat seafood.

“This is all a drama staged before the media.

But they never take appropriate action for the betterment of the industry.

Today, the small fishermen are helpless due to the spread of Covid-19.

The government allows them to go fishing, but there is no mechanism to sell their catch. Even the police do not allow them to sell their catch on the beach.

We need a proper system and the Fisheries Corporation must intervene,” Roshantha said.