Mar 18, Colombo: State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dilip Wedaarachchi has decided to establish a special raids unit to control illegal activities in freshwater fishing in the country.
The State Minister has instructed the Chairman and the Director General of the National Aquaculture Development Authority to expedite measures related to this initiative.
According to the Ministry, freshwater fishing is being carried out in about 12,000 large and middle scale inland reservoirs and 40,000 people are engaged in the industry.
Every year, the National Aquaculture Development Authority deposits hundreds of thousands of fish fingerlings in these reservoirs to maintain the fish population. In last year alone 110 million fish fingerlings in the inland reservoirs.
According to the 2018 statistics, the fresh water fish harvest is 86,000 metric tons. However, due to the illegal activities, the fish harvest has come down significantly.
The National Aquaculture Development Authority points out that the people, who are not legal fishers, even catch small fish weighing about 200 grams of the species that can grow up to about one and a half kilograms.
According to Authority, these illegal poachers pose a huge threat to the industry since they have a larger haul of fish at one time in comparison to the daily haul of legitimate fishermen engaged in the trade.
Minister Wedaarachchi said a large number of threats, intimidations and attacks have been reported by the fisheries inspectors in controlling such illegal activities in the inland fisheries industry and therefore, he has decided that it is more practical to establish a special raids unit to control the illegal fishing.
Following complaints that the law is not being implemented at the regional level to control the illegal inland fishing, the State Minister has instructed to establish the special raids unit at the National Aquaculture Development Authority.