Sri Lanka fisheries protection seen needed to maintain market access

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

Feb 24, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka needs an effective fisheries protection programme to implement the sustainable policies that are required to ensure continued market access for its fish exports, a fisheries and maritime security expert has said. A fully integrated fishing vessel monitoring and fisheries protection programme to fight poaching would also enable Sri Lanka to increase earnings and attract foreign investments in to the industry, said John Church.

There are an estimated 600 vessels illegally fishing in the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) at any one time, Church said.

Poaching could be stopped with a programme integrating a Vessel Monitoring System, a satellite-based system for Monitor Control and Surveillance of All Vessels, and Fisheries Management Protection Programme.

Such systems tried in other countries had been effective in deterring poachers and also provided the maritime security environment and legal framework to attract foreign investments into fisheries, Church said.

Existing laws and systems were inadequate to fight poaching since poachers detained by law enforcement authorities only lost their catch, not their boats, enabling them to return later.

“If they get arrested they only lose the ca