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Concerns over destructive fishing methods

16 March 2021 12:04 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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 Purse seine fishing

 

  • All Island Multi day Boat Owners’ Association of Sri Lanka complains that the percentage by weight of fish its members caught is between 40 – 45kg. It said that their vessels carry between 50 and 200 fish per night. But large ships from foreign countries using the purse seines method catch between 25,000 and 50,000 fish. “When we caught one fish for 45kg, those ships kill about 15 fish for it. What amazes us is the increase in quotas for countries that own such destructive ships” Lankan fishermen argued.

 

 

All Island Multi day Boat Owners’ Association of Sri Lanka recently issued a statement in response to the on-going discussions at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) Special Meeting, in which member countries of the IOTC including Sri Lanka are discussing the need for catch reductions necessary to ensure the sustainable harvest of Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna. The full statement is produced below.


Management of Indian Ocean Yellow fin tuna fish stock Members of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) are responsible for managing the harvest of yellow fin tuna stock of the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka is also a member of it. About six years ago, the Government informed all fishermen that a quota system would be introduced for all countries by 2020. As our multi-day fishing vessels were not enough to increase the yield we captured, 35 foreign fishing vessels were allowed. Accordingly, considering the increased yield, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission reduced the amount of fish we caught in 2014 by 20% and approved a harvest of 5,302 tons for the year 2021. But our multi-day fishing vessels brought 10,746 tons of harvest in the international waters of the Indian Ocean in 2019 alone. 

 

Catching a large number of fishesc using Purs seining

 

Large ships using the purse seines method catch between 25,000 and 50,000 fish. When we catch one fish weighing 45kg, those ships kill about 15 fish for it. What amazes us is the increase in quotas for countries that own such destructive ships


When considering the fish captured in 2019, (10,746 tons) and the capture given to us in 2021 (5,302 tons) is a 50% reduction. Many fishing vessels from the European Union, Indonesia, Korea, and the islands of Mauritius are capturing fish by using purse seines. This method is used in the catchment areas and fishermen trap all the fish in a trap under a net. It harvests the same fish offspring along with the fry. This is a destructive system. But the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission has approved 76,258 tons for EU, 31,605 tons for Seychelles, 11,057 tons for Taiwan, 10,473 tons for the state of Mauritius, 27,784 ton for the Maldives , 7,938 tons for Indonesia and 7,524 tons for Korea by 2021. But in our country, multi-day fishing vessels use non-destructive fishing method which known as longline fishery to catch fish. For this purpose, a 40-50 mile long line with 1500 - 2000 hooks is used. For this, 100-110g of imported bait or squid bait is used. Because the bait cannot be eaten by small fish, our vessels catch only large yellowfin tuna. 

 


The percentage by weight of fish we caught is between 40 – 45kg. Our vessels carry between 50 and 200 fish per night. But large ships using the purse seines method catch between 25,000 and 50,000 fish. When we caught one fish for 45kg, those ships kill about 15 fish for it. What amazes us is the increase in quotas for countries that own such destructive ships. On behalf of the All Island Multi-Day boat Owners’ Association, we support to submit a proposal from Department of fisheries and aquatic resources, Sri Lanka under Ministry of Fisheries and aquatic resources, Sri Lanka to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission by emphasising that fishing under 20kg should be banned and such vessels should not be allowed. 


I further inform that the operating license issued by our Fisheries Department for fishing vessels over 24 meters should be at least temporarily revoked. If these resources, which belong to the next generation, are not managed in that manner, the multi-day fishing industry which brings foreign exchange to our country will soon be in danger. 
B. Tiron Priyantha Mendis, President,


All Island Multi-day Boat Owners’ Association of Sri Lanka

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