Contradicting Fisheries State Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi’s statement on the suspension of the European Union’s ban on the export of fisheries products for six months, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Fisheries said that they had not received any such news.
“The ministry has not been informed of such a decision being made and as far as we know the EU embargo on the import of fish from Sri Lanka is still in place,” the Ministry said.
The new government has initiated discussions with the EU in order to resume the export of fish to these countries as it is significant factor in earning of foreign exchange.
However, the EU has recommended adherence to a few recommendations including the use of satellite technology in order to monitor the fishing craft. The removal of the embargo will be considered by the EU only after reviewing the measures taken to comply with their recommendation, it said.
The statement also stated that steps had already been taken to introduce the related satellite technology for the 3000 fishing vessels for monitoring purposes.
The ministry has entered into an agreement in this regard on November 12 last year during the tenure of the previous government with a company in Denmark.
However, to date only 1,635 fishing crafts had legally been authorised by the ministry to go fishing in international waters. Accordingly, as a first step 50 boats would be equipped with the satellite device while another 1,500 boats would be given the facility by July 31 under the first stage, the State Minister of Fisheries said in a media release.
The EU has been informed about the necessary amendments to the agreement and it would be ready for signing after receiving the Attorney General’s advice. This process has not being facing a delay, the statement said. (Chaturanga Pradeep)