Rs 4.7B for fisheries industry development

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By 2017-11-12

By Zohara Ghaffoor

Sri Lanka's fisheries industry has received an overall allocation of Rs 4,750 million in Budget 2018 under the 'blue economy concept', which the Government says will integrate the full potential of ocean related activities in the island.

The 'Blue-Green' Budget contains many proposals aimed at uplifting and growing the industry, including the allocation of Rs 1,750 million to develop and upgrade the anchorages and landing sites of fishery harbours such as Chilaw, Mirissa, Karainagar and Purana Wella.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, delivering the Budget speech, mentioned that a sum of Rs 400 Million will be allocated for the initiation project on Beach Replenishment from Mount Lavinia to Ratmalana . He noted that the project will be expanded to create further investments, especially in the Tourism and Fisheries industries.

According to the Minister a sum of Rs 25 million will be set aside for the development of an integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) mechanism with the participation of all stakeholders.

Highlighting that lagoons in the country have a unique eco system, the Minister said the lagoons must be safeguarded to support climate mitigation,......resilient growth and conservation. The Government will invest Rs 1,000 million in 10 lagoons, directing funds towards cleaning the lagoons, increasing the carrying capacity, supporting the existing livelihoods of fisherman and Research and Development.

The Minister noted that 50% of the cost will be borne by the Government when introducing technology such as refrigerated storage to mitigate post-harvest losses in multi-day boats.
The Government will also bear 50% of the cost of multi-day boats of more than 55 feet in length in order to encourage deep sea fishing.

It was also proposed that the Gandara Fishery harbour together with a new fishery harbour in Wellamankara in the Mannar District will be developed with a sum of Rs 200 million. A sum of Rs 250 million will be allocated to continue the 'Wewak Sahitha Gamak' programme and improve fishery villages in coastal areas which were initiated in 2017.
The Minister also noted that a sum of Rs 100 million was allocated for the establishment of a Milk Fish Hatchery and a Marine Ornamental Fish Hatchery in Bangadeniya.

Highlighting that processed Sea Cucumbers had high demand in the export market and earned USD 1,000 per kg, the minister said that a dedicated buffer zone will be established in Poonakery in the Kilinochchi District where the private sector will be given plots to harvest and process Sea Cucumbers.

He added that a sum of Rs 250 million will be allocated for the completion of Infrastructure facilities of the model Aquaculture Industrial Park in the Batticaloa and that similar parks in Mannar and Hambanthota Districts will be established.
According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Fish Production in 2016 grew by 2.1 per cent over 2015 to 530,920 metric tonnes. This growth rate was a revival from the 2.8 per cent decline in growth experienced in 2015. Fish Production for 2015 recorded as 520,000 metric tons.

In 2016, total fish imports decreased by 3.6 per cent to 115,693 metric tons, while dried or salted fish imports increased by 5.8 per cent to 34,978 metric tons during the year.

The largest contributor to Sri Lanka's Edible Fish exports in 2016 was USA with export earnings of US$ 56.26 million. Japan followed with export earnings of US$18.11 million. Netherlands was the 3rd largest, with export earnings of US$ 13.73 million. Canada, Taiwan (Province of China), Hong Kong, Vietnam, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Israel were others which contributed to export earnings.
The lifting of the European Union (EU) ban on Sri Lankan sea food exports in June 2016 however increased the demand from the EU region.

The fisheries industry as a percentage of GDP (Constant Prices) was 1.4% 2015 and 1.3 in 2016. According to the Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, fish export income target is set at USD 1.3 billion by 2020 while the target is expected to improve by USD 05 billion by 2030. He further noted that fish production will be raised by 100% by the year 2020 through government initiatives and high fish export demand prevalent in the market.

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