Fisheries Ministry aims to increase annual earnings from fish exports to US$ 1.5 billion

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and Rural Economy Dilip Wedaarachchi says the plans are afoot to strengthen fish exports to earn an annual income of US$ 1.5 billion and a number of projects are to be launched for this purpose.

Minister Wedaarachchi meeting with the representatives of Fish Exporters’ Association on Tuesday at the Ministry said swift action will be taken in a short time to resolve the issues faced by the exporters in order to increase export earnings.

The meeting focused on resolving the exporters” issues and ways to increase local and foreign investments in the fisheries sector.

Harvesting fish resources according to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission criteria and international regulations, identification of the fish population in the sea-region of Sri Lanka, harvesting fish resources in the international Maritime Boundary, bringing the fish harvest minimizing the post-harvest loss, obtaining high foreign exchange through export of high quality fish are the goals of the Fisheries Ministry, according to the Minister.

Wedaarachchi said as government, the Fisheries Department has already taken the necessary steps efficiently and explained the measures taken to introduce the world’s most advanced technology tools and techniques to reap maximum fish harvest with minimum use of fuel and minimum cost.

At the discussion, the exporters presented the possibility of using cold water instead of ice to store fish post-harvest in order to enhance the quality of the fish with minimum waste. They pointed out that they are willing to utilize satellite technology in the fisheries industry.

The fish exporters said they are prepared to commit to the government’s aim to increase Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange earnings from the export of fish from US$ 280 million to US$ 1.5 billion dollars in the next few years.

In addition, the exporters mentioned that they are able to attract foreign investors for the investment in the fisheries industry and presented the problems they encounter currently.

Minister Wedaarachchi pointed out to the Exporters Association that they should present these issues in writing within a week. He assured the exporters that solutions will be found after discussions with the President, the Prime Minister and the subject Minister.

Collecting data in the fisheries industry, analyzing the data, and creating a data exchange methodology were also discussed at the meeting.

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