Sri Lanka cracks down on illegal fishing

May 27, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has told a regional fish management body that it is cracking down on illegal fishing that is seen hurting efforts to prevent over-exploitation of fish stocks and conservation. The crackdown comes in the wake of concern that illegal fishing hurt management measures aimed at controlling and monitoring fish stocks in the Indian Ocean and endanger their sustainability. Fishing vessels caught engaging in ‘IUU’ (illegal, unregulated and unreported) fishing have had their licences cancelled and been de-registered, the ministry of fisheries has told the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).

The IOTC held its 15th session in Sri Lanka in March where regional countries including Sri Lanka resisted efforts to impose Indian Ocean quotas to prevent over-fishing.

The sessions included a meeting of the IOTC’s compliance committee which monitors IUU fishing by national and foreign fleets.

Poor compliance by countries could see them being “punished” with reduced quotas if and when a quota system is established as has been done in other oceans, officials said.

The fisheries ministry said 13 Sri Lankan fishing vessels were in the provisional IOTC IUU vessel list and that it ha