Nov 19, Colombo: State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dilip Wedaarachchi says making the blue economy a reality, the fisheries industry would be made the third largest foreign exchange earner in the country by the year 2020.
The Minister pledged to make the aquaculture industry in the fisheries sector to earn the third largest foreign exchange while creating 100,000 employment opportunities by 2020.
He said that the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development has a clear vision and a program.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has declared a week in connection with the World Fisheries Day which falls on 21st of November.
As part of the Fisheries Week, a function had been organized under the patronage of the State Minister Wedaarachchi to provide housing aid to the fisheries community and financial aid to develop the industry at the Ministry office in Pelawatta.
Speaking on the occasion State Minister Wedaarachchi said the fisheries industry was at a critical juncture and the aquaculture industry was dying when the new government was formed on January 8, 2015.
He said the present government has started development providing relief to the people in the country and is working to uplift the fisheries industry.
He reminded that when this government came to power there was a ban imposed by the European Union on the exports of Sri Lanka's fish products because the former rulers acted as thugs and flouted the international laws.
State Minister Wedaarachchi pointed out that this government successfully got the ban revoked and started the program to uplift the fishing industry and the community that was deteriorating day by day.
"For this purpose I introduced the "blue economic program" in the fisheries sector after studying extensively how other countries have implemented the program to reap the maximum benefits from our oceans to create an innovative economy," he said.
"My efforts are becoming a reality with the Blue-Green budget introduced by the government for next year," he added.
"Our program was to make our fisherman stronger than ever. We plan to implement programs to change the attitude of the fishermen in order to strengthen their lives in the future," the State Minister said.
"Steps will be taken to protect the rights of the fisher folk and provide relief to them, while uplifting rural fishermen organizations," the Minister further said.