Jan 03, Colombo: The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development has decided to import five aquatic weed harvesters for the first time to remove invasive aquatic plants in Sri Lanka's reservoirs.
According to the Ministry, the most serious problem in the country's wetland system is the growth of invasive aquatic plants in the inland reservoirs making the water resources unusable.
Due to the growth of invasive aquatic plants, it is difficult to retain sufficient water for agriculture and also adversely affect the breeding of freshwater fish.
The fish resources in the tanks including Mahakanadara and Magulgama have been severely impacted due to the growth of an aquatic plant species called Najas Marina.
At present, reservoirs and canals in a number of areas in the island including Rajarata are being destroyed due to the growth of invasive aquatic plants. Even the water sources that can be used for people's drinking water needs are damaged by the aquatic plant growth.
Since some plant species have been growing for years in waterways, the water is polluted and has become toxic to the fish and other aquatic fauna, the Ministry officials pointed out.
Having considered these facts, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Mahinda Amaraweera, has instructed ministry officials to immediately purchase five Water-born Debris Collectors- Aquatic Weed Harvesters which can remove the aquatic plants such as Salvinia, Water Hyacinth and Water Lettuce in waterways including tanks.
He said that the government had decided to purchase these machines for the first time.
A machine will cost Rs. 10 million and purchasing the machines will not only benefit the fishery industry but also agriculture and other sectors, the Minister pointed out.