Sri Lanka to boost deep sea fishing, double exports to US$500mn

May 08, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is planning to boost deep sea fishing and double tuna exports by 2015 with the help of new vessels from Japan and China, fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne said.

At the moment a few dozen foreign flagged deep sea fishing vessels from Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia were operating in international waters which landed their catch in Sri Lanka for export. There were about 200 landings a year.

Though Sri Lanka had about 3,000 multi-day boats only about 300 vessels are operated in the deep sea and most were engaged in coastal fisheries, he said.

Very few went to international waters, he said. Most of the catch in international waters in the Indian Ocean was made by vessels from developed nations, he said.

Developed nations were using large vessels with a capacity of 900 tonnes compared to 15 to 20 tonnes for Sri Lankan boats and some were using industrial purse seining which was a bad practice while Sri Lanka was using long line which caught the larger fish.

The large vessels used helicopters and satellite imagery to catch fish, he said.

Sri Lanka would need 300 multi-day boats to match a single such vessel he said.

Internation