(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Monday, January 14, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program – North America’s leading seafood ratings organization’s – released its new global recommendations for amberjack, carp, crab, smelt and trout and updated recommendations for crab and lobster at the Global Seafood Market conference in San Diego.
At this event for the first time ever two Sri Lankan fisheries were recommended to consumers, retailers and the global seafood industry as a Good Alternative by the Seafood Watch® program. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program helps consumers and businesses to choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean, now and for future generations (www.seafoodwatch.org).
Niche markets for eco-recommended seafood are well established in North America, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand. Environmentally conscious consumers in these countries are willing to pay more for seafood products that are harvested from sustainably managed stocks; and from fisheries that don’t harm other marine creatures or destroy the marine environment. International marine conservation agencies like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the international seafood industry have joined forces to use premium prices for eco-recommended seafood, to drive a global movement for sustainably managed wild caught and farmed fish.
Sri Lanka has now joined this elite global initiative, affirming the Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development’s commitment to the sustainable management of Sri Lanka’s fisheries resources. The blue swimming crab (Portunus pelagicus) fisheries in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar are the first fisheries in Sri Lanka and the only blue swimming crab fisheries in South and South East Asia to be recommended by Seafood Watch®.
Following this global announcement Sri Lanka’s leading seafood exporters led by the Seafood Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka (SEASL), will gain immediate access to premium markets for eco-recommended crab products in the US, EU and Australasia. Increased revenues from the sale of Sri Lankan crab products to top-end markets for eco-recommended seafood will increase the value of Sri Lanka’s seafood exports (US$ 190 million in 2018) and the sector’s contribution to Sri Lanka’s economic development (2.7% of GDP in 2017).
The increased value of Sri Lankan crab products will also safeguard the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Sri Lankan fishermen and their families who depend on these blue swimming crab fisheries for their daily income, in the North and Northwestern Provinces. . Members of the SEASL will contribute a percentage of the increased value of eco-recommended Sri Lankan blue swimming crab products, to support the sustainable management of the two fisheries.
This gigantic achievement is a proud moment for all Sri Lankans, which will boost exports through sea food sector on sustainably sourced/ eco recommendable natural resources. As an island this is an eye opening achievement to focus on the fisheries industry than before, which can bring sustainable development to the country.
Ministry, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the agencies and authorities under the ministry that have contributed to this achievement and Hon. Minister wishes to thank all those who have contributed towards delivering the first ‘eco-recommendation’ for a Sri Lankan fishery.
The Hon. Minister further will extend his fullest support to the seafood industry, to researchers and to fishing communities to achieve more ‘eco-recommendation’ for more Sri Lankan fisheries, in the future.
The Seafood Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka (SEASL) was established in 1998 to represent and promote the interests of companies engaged in the export of seafood products from Sri Lanka. Its mission is to ensure the long term economic, social and environmental sustainability of the seafood export sector in Sri Lanka. While providing a common platform for the leading seafood export companies in Sri Lankan to discuss concerns and constraints affecting seafood exports, it also acts as a focal point for engagement between companies engaged in the export of Sri Lankan seafood products and the Government of Sri Lanka vis-a-vis government policy and practice concerning the seafood export sector. SEASL is also a forum for engagement between Sri Lankan seafood exporters and the International seafood food community.