Sri Lanka wards off tuna quota: minister

Mar 16, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has prevented efforts to restrict her tuna quota in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Sri Lanka had revived its activity in the IOTC and was compliant with its rules and did not allow IUU (illegal, unreported, unregistered) fishing,” Senaratne said. Had the quota been restricted by pressure from nations with large fishing fleets in the Indian Ocean, the local fisheries industry could have collapsed, he said.

Sri Lanka won support from 17 states in the 28-member IOTC to block the proposal, Senaratne told a news conference.

Sri Lanka and other like-minded states in the Indian Ocean will push for sustainable tuna fishing at a meeting of the IOTC which began in Colombo Tuesday.

Large fishing fleets from industrialised countries doing mechanised ‘industrial-scale’ fishing were destroying stocks in the Indian Ocean, Senaratne told a news conference.

“They destroy coral reefs, and catch thousands of tonnes of fish, even day-old ones.”