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* Sri Lanka to inntroduce a new Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) to monitor fishing boats
Sat, Aug 9, 2014, 10:35 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 09, Colombo: Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne announced Friday that a new Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) will be introduced to monitor the thousands of multi day fishing boats in the Sri Lankan seas.

The new Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), which will provide up to date weather information to fishermen to help reduce loss of life in sea, is expected to be operational from October.

The Minister announced this is repeonse to a question raised by the opposition United National Party (UNP) Hambantota district parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa at Parliament on Friday (August 08).

Responding toqueries raised on fresh water fishing industry in Sri Lanka, the Minister said that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development had supplied 233.6 millions of fish fingerlings and 70.5 millions of prawns to inland fish farming centers.

Minister Senaratne said that there were 1,467 fish landing places engaged in the fresh water fishing industry and 32,635 families are engaged in the industry at those landing places.

Dr. Senaratne noted that since he assumed duties as the Minister in April 2010 the fresh water fish harvest has incrased by 50 percent.

"At the time I assumed duties of this Ministry, the fresh water fish harvest was 43,000 metric tonnes, today I have been able to increase it up to 63,000 metric tonnes. That is a 50% increase," he told parliament.

"Today I have been able to increase it up to 63,000 metric tons, which is a 50% increase," the Minister said.

He told the House that the Ministry has addressed the needs of the fishermen and provided them with crafts, fishing nets and equipment.

However, the Minster said the prevailing drought situation had resulted in decrease of fresh water fish production as the drought has affected the small scale water bodies.

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