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Fish exporters anticipate immediate recovery following EU ban removal

20 June 2016 10:26 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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EU Ambassador David Daly and Fisheries and AquaticResources Management Ministry Secretary Mangalika Adikari
at the Dikkotuwa Fisheries Harbour in Wattala to mark theremoval of EU fish ban

Sri Lanka’s s e a f o o d exporters will be able to comp l e t e l y regain their lost markets in the Europe immediately with the lifting of the European Union (EU) ban on Sri Lanka, stakeholders expressed confidence. F o l l o w i n g a n initial announcement in April that Sr i Lanka had fulfilled t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s for lifting the ban, the EU Parliament yesterday issued a s t a t e m e n t s a y i n g that the ban has been o f f i c i a l l y lifted. “Sure. It will go up to the level of exports we had prior to the ban being imposed, but also think i t w i l l b e bigger than that,” Seafood E x p o r t e r s Association of Sri Lanka Spokesman Channa Weeratunga said, when asked how the levels of fish exports this year will be. He added that this is because demand for fish has gone up in the changing EU market place.

When inquired if the competitors would put up a stiff fight, Weeratunga noted that they would be unsuccessful. “Though there was a supply to fill the gap from the deficiency of Sri Lankan supply, the quality was not there. The Europeans also found it difficult to fill the demand of niche products. We always have them. Since April they have been inquiring when the ban will actually be lifted,” he said. He noted that the levels of fish in many oceans have decreased over the past 2 years, while the numbers have remained high in seas where Sri Lankan fishermen operate.

EU Ambassador David Daly too added that even though competition is tough, the quality of Sri Lankan fish will make the difference. “We recognize that number one is high quality products, and that is what Sri Lanka fisheries represent,” he said. Weeratunga added that customers were attempting to place orders yesterday, but that orders would have to wait till the decision is published in the EU Journal, which would likely happen on Monday. Meanwhile, Daly remained wary of the situation, saying that despite significant improvements in fisheries management practices, the country needs to further consolidate them. “The road is long, and we had to promise a lot to the EU in terms of ethics. We want all our stakeholders to join us in upholding these ethics,” Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Ministry Secretary Mangalika Adikari added.

EU had warned Sri Lanka of bad fishing practices, especially bottom trawling, since 2010. Following a yellow card on fish exports in 2012, the EU completely halted fish exports from Sri Lanka in October 2014. Around 222,160 fishermen and women lost half of their income, as the country’s fish exports took a heavy hit. Seafood exports for 2015 fell to US$161.1 million from US$252.7 million in 2014. Sri Lanka was the second largest seafood exporter to the EU by 2014, exceeding exports of 74 million Euro, most of the volumes being made up of tuna and swordfish.

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  • chandita Tuesday, 21 June 2016 01:15 PM

    What will this mean for the cost of fish for the local consumers? Will we end up with a lower quality fish now and have to pay more for the good quality?


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