The Government has decided to increase the number of fisheries harbours in the country starting with Point Pedro, which will be the largest of all and another fisheries harbour in Pesalai.
According to Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and State Minister of Mahaweli Development Mahinda Amaraweera, the proposed fisheries harbours established as part of the Asian Development Bank program will provide livelihood opportunities in the northern peninsula.
“Prior to 1983, there was about a 40% contribution from northern fishermen to local fish production. As a result of the war it drastically dropped to 4% during 1983-2009. This contribution is about 12% as of today and this is not satisfactory. The fishermen in the north are still using traditional fishing methods and their vessels are very old. Compared with the South, the fishing industry in the north is lagging behind 20-30 years. Now we are transferring modern technology to them,” said the Minister.
According to the Minister, a team from Moratuwa University has recently carried out a feasibility study in Point Pedro on the proposed construction.
“Our officials spoke to the fisheries association representatives and they could iron out most of their doubts. Now many in the area are supporting this project. If we have to take over private lands for the purpose, we will pay due compensation. The construction of a fishery harbour will generate a large number of direct and indirect jobs. We do not intend to recruit those in the South for them. It is the Northern community which will fully benefit from this initiative,” he added. AH