Upon the invitation of the Norwegian government, a delegation headed by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera participated in the international trade fair Nor Fishing – 2016 from August 15th to 18th in Trondheim, Norway.
Addressing a seminar at the exhibition, the Fisheries Minister expressed his appreciation to the Norwegian government for inviting Sri Lanka to take part in the internationally acclaimed fisheries exhibition, which was attended by 460 exhibitors from 52 countries and over 14,000 buyers per day.
“This exhibition is of paramount importance and a timely requirement for us. Sri Lanka has been privileged being invited to such an internationally acclaimed fisheries exhibition in a short span of time following the lifting of EU fish ban. We have restarted exporting fish products to EU countries and I request from all of you to give an opportunity to export Sri Lankan fish to your country as well,” the Minister said.
“I extend my gratitude to the EU on behalf of the Sri Lankan government for the support rendered to Sri Lanka by lifting the fish ban. The official invitation made to Sri Lanka by the government of Norway who performs as a key member of the EU, reflects the good faith placed upon the current government of Sri Lanka by the international community,” he said.
The Minister highlighted that the Sri Lankan government has initiated multiple measures that have never been attempted previously for the development of the fisheries industry. Exportation of high quality fish products to the international market by catching and processing high quality fish and the maximum application of modern technology in fisheries are the prime objectives of such measures, he said.
He noted that the government has launched projects in developing lagoons aiming to increase the fish population, contributing 50% from the government in the manufacturing of large scale fishing vessels and increasing the fish population in 10,000 inland reservoirs to develop the freshwater fisheries.
The Minister explained that Sri Lanka hereafter will deploy only the vessels larger that 55ft for the fishing purposes in International Waters. Manufacturing 10 such vessels have been initiated and another 100 medium scale vessels will be upgraded soon, he said adding that the government is prepared to provide concessions for the projects.
The Minister said 32 Sri Lankan fish processing factories export their products to the European market and he recently visited these factories to personally ensure that those factories possess the required high standards. He further noted that Sri Lanka has started producing fish products such as Sushi and Sashimi used in the countries like Japan.
Minister Amaraweera observed that Sri Lanka has incurred a financial loss of nearly Rs. 16 billion due to the EU fish ban. However, with the correct vision of the current government Sri Lanka has now approached the right path, he said.
“Apart from the development of fish exports we have ventured in to the manufacturing of fishing gear items and development of fishery harbors. The Sri Lankan government is ready to offer broaden opportunities in such ventures and therefore you are mostly welcome and requested to visit our country and try out these opportunities,” said the Minister.