Govt. suspends foreign vessels fishing under Sri Lankan Flag

Thursday, 1 January 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Government has decided to suspend fishing activities carried out by foreign vessels in international waters under the Sri Lankan National Flag, with immediate effect. The main objective of this decision was to uplift the livelihoods of the fisher-folk and thereby lay a firm foundation to their living standards, said Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry Spokesman Narendra Sri Rajapaksa. The Government gave priority to revive the fishing industry in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, which was hampered to a greater extent during the past two decades, especially since 2009. Sri Rajapaksa said that the fisher-folk raised strong objections when some companies registered with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) engaged in fishing in international waters flying the Sri Lankan Flag. Since the end of the three-decade conflict, the fishing communities who had access to a vast area of the sea resumed their fishing activities and were of the opinion that these foreign vessels were a grave threat to their industry. Many fisheries organisations and the fishing community in Sri Lanka held protests against these foreign fishing vessels. Therefore, the Government decided to temporarily ban fishing activities conducted by foreign vessels under the Sri Lankan Flag until such time investigations are carried out to ascertain whether these companies have acted causing disruption to the country’s national requirements and the conduct of the BOI towards these companies.