The Government moved new laws in Parliament yesterday seeking House approval to ban bottom trawling, which is harmful to the marine environment.
Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and State Minister of Mahaweli Development Mahinda Amaraweera, moving the amendment to Section 28 of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, No. 2 of 1996, stated the fishing operations utilising trawl nets towed by motorised or mechanised fishing boats and the sale, import and transport of such nets and the issuance of licences relating to the utilisation of such nets will be prohibited.
“A jail sentence for a term not exceeding two years or a fine not less than Rs. 50,000 could be imposed on persons convicted by the court of violating the new laws,” the Minister said.
“Though we may experience a reduction in fish harvest due to the ban on trawling nets, we take it as a step in the right direction considering the huge damage this form of fishing causes to our sea beds and marine life,” he added. The Minister also mentioned that instead of banking on the private sector, the Government will also consider entering into fishing exports this year.
According to Parliament sources, the legislation to ban bottom trawling was compiled by incorporating sections of the private member’s bill presented to the House by Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi lawmaker M. A. Sumanthiran in April 2015. (AH)