China to give Lanka deep sea fishing vessels

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

China had agreed to give assistance of Chinese investors to provide deep sea vessels to Sri Lanka to step up fishing which has slowed down as there were not enough vessels and equipment, the Fisheries Ministry said.

The Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development Ministry was responding to a news report in The Hindu of June 23 that Sri Lanka had permitted Chinese vessels to operate under the Sri Lankan flag.

According to the Indian media report the Fishermen organisations and boat owners have accused the Sri Lankan government of allowing Chinese vessels to operate close to common fishing grounds between India and Sri Lanka which would affect the livelihood of thousands of Indian fishermen.

However, the Ministry noted that only Sri Lankan vessels operated under the Sri Lankan flag.

The ministry said that the government had no control over Chinese or any other foreign vessel operating in international waters and it was common knowledge that many foreign vessels fished in the Indian Ocean both legally and illegally, sometimes very close to Sri Lanka’s national Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Meanwhile, during a meeting between Sri Lanka’s Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and the China Public Advisory Conference Deputy Chairman Lu Lue, the two countries discussed the development of the fisheries sector in Sri Lanka.

According to the Ministry media spokesman, China was ready to provide technical and scientific assistance to Sri Lanka to develop the fisheries sector and it has also agreed to assist in developing the ornamental fish industry and train aquaculture industrialists.

However, Fisheries Minister Dr. Senaratne said that the agreements had been finalised with two companies from China and Japan to increase deep sea fishing and it was a joint venture of two countries to increase Sri Lanka’s deep sea fishing.

Dr. Senaratne said that Sri Lankan fishermen would engage in fishing using Chinese vessels and the fish catch would be shared between the two countries.

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