EU team due in October to assess requirements for lifting fishing ban: USD 75mn loss so far

July 22, 2015 (LBO) – A delegation from the European Union is due to arrive in Sri Lanka in October to assess the progress made by the Sri Lankan government in order to lift a fishing ban imposed earlier, a foreign Ministry official said.

“A technical evaluation mission from the EU is to come to Sri Lanka to discuss the status of the implementation of the recommendations made to Sri Lanka to re-enter the market,” Mahishini Colonne, Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“The actual dates of the visit are still being discussed,”

She said so far Sri Lanka has made a loss of 75 million US dollar due to the ban.

The European Union in October 2014 proposed to ban imports of fisheries products from Sri Lanka, the second biggest exporter to the bloc, due to Sri Lanka’s failure to demonstrate that it sufficiently addressed illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The ban went into effect from 14 January 2015.

Sri Lanka is the second biggest exporter of fresh and chilled swordfish and tuna to the EU with 74 million euro of imports in 2013.

One of the more significant measures in the recommendations was the establishing of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)

The VMS system is a satellite-based monitoring system which at regular intervals provides data to the fisheries authorities on the location, course and speed of vessels.

“So far VMS have been installed in 488 fishing vessels another 1006 vessels are still to be done,” Colonne said.

According to the Central Bank report of 2014, Sri Lanka has earned 252.7 million US dollars from seafood exports, but earnings declined by 36.5 percent in March 2015 caused by the 77.6 percent decline in seafood exports to the EU market.