Jan 23, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that the government will take every effort to upgrade the living standards of the fishery community in the country while developing the fisheries industry.
Addressing the first convention of the National Fisheries Federation held Tuesday at the Temple Trees under his patronage, the President said, the government has implemented a stable program to ensure a reasonable price for the fishermen's catch as well as for the consumer.
The President said that fast measures will be taken to resolve problems encountered by the fisher community, especially the issue, fishermen in the North encountering with the Indian fishermen stealing their catch.
He said the governments of the two countries are continuing discussions on the issue to provide a sustainable solution and expressed optimism that a reasonable solution can be found.
The President spoke of new technology that will be introduced for the fishermen to enhance the catch and stay out of trouble in waters.
He noted that fishing trawlers have been found to be using to transport illegal immigrants to Australia and stressed that the practice should be halted.
Speaking at the convention, organized by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources , the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Rajitha Senaratne said the fishermen throughout the country including the North and East are reaping maximum benefits through the National Fisheries Federation.
According to Minister Senaratne, there are 2.5 million fishermen in the country and the fish production for last year had reached 486,000 metric tons. Sea fish production increase bya 16 percent while inland fisheries production had increased by 39 percent. Fish exports during last year had increased by 29 percent.
The National Fisheries Federation comprises 26 District Fisheries Organizations and 1,163 Rural Fisheries Organizations.
The Minister warned the human smugglers that a fine of 1.5 million rupees will be imposed on trawlers used for human smuggling and the vessel be confiscated.
The President also presented commemorative gifts to the representatives of 26 District Fisheries Organizations.
Ministers Douglas Devananda, Richard Bathiyutheen, Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame and several parliamentarians were present at the occasion.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)