May 01, 2008 (LBO) â€“ Sri Lanka has signed a deal with the Netherlands government to get eight billion rupees (44.9 million euro) in aid to build a fisheries harbour to accommodate deep sea trawlers and develop the island’s fishing industry.
The port will be built in Dikowita on the western coast, fisheries minister Felix Perera said.
The new port will be Sri Lanka’s largest fisheries harbour with the capacity to dock 340 multi-day 65-foot trawlers and 150 smaller fishing boats.
Spread over 6.5 hectares, the harbour will be equipped with cold storage units, ice manufacturing machines and equipment to process the deep sea catch.
The Netherlands will provide 17.1 million euros as a grant, with the rest as a soft loan, Perera told reporters Wednesday.
The harbour will be built by Interbeton BV, a unit of the Netherland’s BAM group.
After completion in two years, the port will directly help over 3,000 fishermen, Perera said.
A modern fisheries harbour will encourage the younger generation to take up commercial fishing with a better understanding of the industry and its market, which will help stabilize the industry, Perera also said.
The harbour’s location close to international waters will enable bigger foreign trawlers to unload their catch in Sri Lanka.
Furthermore, its close proximity to the island sole international airport will help local exporters in the fishing industry, the fisheries ministry said in a statement.
The objective of the project is to give bigger fishing trawlers easy access to ports.
The existing fisheries anchorage in Modera, just north of Colombo port, is considered inadequate to meet the island’s future requirements as it seeks to increase the contribution of fisheries to economic growth.
The Modera harbour is too shallow to dock bigger fishing vessels. Furthermore, the naval authorities have also imposed restrictions on vessel movements in Modera because of Colombo port security requirements.
The ministry has also started work on a modern central fish market in Peliyagoda, in the outskirts of Colombo.