Sri Lanka expects EU fishing ban to be revoked by mid 2016


Dec 22, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is looking at a favorable response about the lifting of EU fishing ban from the European Parliament by mid next year, the Fisheries Minister said.

“During the coming months the proposal to lift the fishing ban will be presented to the European Parliament,” Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

“We are losing over 100 million US dollars per year because of this ban. So we are expecting a favorable response from them before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in 2016.” he said.

Minister Amaraweera said they have installed Vessel Monitoring Systems to the vessels operating in international waters in order to stop fishing in prohibited areas.

The 2016 budget proposed a deep sea fishing licensing scheme where one license holder will have to engage in collaboration with at least 100 persons in the fishing community.

Amaraweera however stated that the budget proposal has no effect to the exiting small boat owners as the proposal only affects new comers.

As per international law, Sri Lanka has the authority to send 1,615 boats to the international waters for fishing.

“We already have over 1,550 boats fishing in international waters. So we have left only few boats to add,’

“We have invited local businessmen to invest in new ships that use new technology.” he further said.

European Union Council last month encouraged Sri Lanka to take further measures necessary to address the shortcomings established in the context of the EU legislation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The Council added that the ban on fishery exports to the EU could be lifted if further necessary steps are taken.

Sri Lanka received a “yellow card” or a strict warning in November 2012 before the ban was imposed, as the country was not complying with international rules on illegal fishing.