Fisheries Minister upbeat about selling marine craft to EU this year


By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

More Sri Lankan made vessels would be exported to the European Union (EU) countries this year, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Amaraweera claimed yesterday.

With the lifting of EU ban on Sri Lanka fish exports, the country would receive an income of over Rs. 20 billion by exporting Sri Lankan made vessels to the EU countries, Minister Amaraweera said.

Participating in a discussion at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo recently on the international exhibition of Sri Lankan boats and fisheries scheduled to be held from Oct. 13 to 15 at the Dikkowita Fishery Harbour to boost the international demand for Sri Lankan boats, Minister Amaraweera noted that there was a high demand in international market for the boats manufactured in Sri Lanka as they conformed to international standards.

The exhibition is organised by the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry in collaboration with Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute, Sri Lanka Export Development Board and Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry.

Apart from the boats manufactured in Sri Lanka, a high demand prevails in international market especially for luxury yachts, tourism, passenger boats, fisheries research vessels, high speed craft used for marine missions, sea cadet training vessels and boat spares and parts, Minister Amaraweera said.

There was a very high demand for Sri Lankan built vessels from countries like the US, the UK, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Somalia, Gambia, India and Bangladesh, the minister said.

According to Fisheries Ministry statistics, a large sum of foreign exchange had been earned through boat and vessel exportation amounting to Rs. 11,480 million in 2014 and Rs. 11,200 million in 2015.

Meanwhile, Rs. 139 million had been allocated this year to build ten large fishing craft and they would be delivered to fishers engaged in deep sea fishing under a low interest loan scheme, Minister Amaraweera said, adding that another Rs. 70 million would be granted for upgrading 100 fishing vessels during the year.

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