June 07, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will conduct a comprehensive marine fisheries stock assessment in 2013 for the first time in nearly four decades with Thai assistance, an official said. Fisheries minister Rajitha Seneratne said last month that fishing vessels from Japan to be run by Koyoshi Kimura, a sushi restaurant chain owner known as ‘Tuna King’ and another 20 vessels from China were expected to be licensed for deep sea fishing later this year.
Sri Lanka’s fisheries sector has expanded after the end of a 30-year war in 2009, during which curbs were imposed on fishermen in the north and the east. But they are mostly engaged in coastal fisheries.
Sri Lanka has also faced poaching by Indian fishers on its northern waters.
Sri Lanka’s National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) said technical assistance and funding support is coming from Thailand.
“We need to know the current status of the marine fisheries around the island in order to develop the fishery sector further,” NARA chairman S G Samarasundara said.
Sri Lanka has last surveyed marine fisheries stocks in the 1970s, he said.
Sri Lanka’s marine catch was 417,000 metric to