Fishery industry will get boost to solve forex crisis – Douglas

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Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said, he is closely monitoring the operation of fishery harbours and is taking the necessary steps to address deficiencies while developing them with sophisticated modern facilities.

Fisheries Minister Devananda went on to say that he was committed to resolving the country’s foreign reserve shortage by resolving the grievances of fishermen who bring in foreign income.

“It is planned to extend the Kalpitiya Fishery Harbour’s breakwater by 75 metres. The feasibility studies for the proposed project are currently underway and close to completion. I have directed the relevant officials, including Ceylon Fishery Harbour Corporation General Manager Mudalige, to put the development plan into action as soon as possible,” Devananda said.

The Minister said, he met with the owners of 23 multi-day fishing trawlers in the Kalpitiya area and that halting shrimp harvesting by the trawlers had a significant impact on national and local economies. Exporting shrimp can generate a significant amount of foreign income.

However, according to the Fisheries Act, trawling is prohibited. In this regard, a foreigner has filed a case in court. This problem is difficult to solve. Without waiting for the judgement in this case, a cabinet paper is being prepared, and a Fisheries Act amendment bill will be introduced in Parliament as soon as possible after receiving cabinet approval. He noted that steps will be taken to develop the Udappu anchorage with necessary action to improve the economic and living standards of families depending on fisheries. “Necessary arrangements will be made to provide kerosene to fishermen Udappu and Chilaw areas from a fuel shed in the region”.

Minister Devananda added that he has instructed the Ceylon Fishery Harbour Corporation to take necessary action to open the shopping complex built close to Chilaw fishery harbour.

By Naalir Jamaldeen