Revamped Fisheries Act to boost sector development Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda
In a significant stride toward advancing the fisheries and aquatic resources sector, Fisheries Minister Mr. Douglas Devananda announced the enactment of a revised Fisheries Act.
The draft of this transformative legislation has been forwarded to solicit opinions and insights from field experts, marking a collaborative effort to optimize the industry’s potential.
Addressing the media at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) under the theme Collective path to a stable country, yesterday (12), Minister Devananda highlighted key initiatives aimed at bolstering the fishing community. Notably, the encouragement of using battery motors for fishing boats was underscored as a measure to alleviate production costs for fishermen and address fuel-related challenges.
Minister Douglas Devananda, while providing his insights during the press conference, expressed admiration for the unprecedented budget plan presented by the current government led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe. The multifaceted challenges posed by factors such as the aftermath of war and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to economic setbacks, causing the country to face considerable adversity. He attributed the rapid recovery of the economically challenged country to the President’s guidance, leadership and the collective support of the nation.
He also said that while abroad, the Minister frequently faces queries from international counterparts curious about Sri Lanka’s rapid recovery. In response, the Minister credits this success to President Ranil Wickremeinghe’s adept guidance and strong leadership. The Minister highlights the President’s distinctive personality and commends the unwavering support from those aligned with the current government. Additionally, the Minister underscores the vital role played by the people of Sri Lanka in understanding the nation’s challenges. Their active cooperation and collaborative efforts with the government have proven instrumental in navigating the crisis and expediting the recovery process.
In the 2024 budget, the Ministry of Fisheries has been allocated Rs. 8,400 million, off that Rs. 6,077 million allocated for capital expenditure and Rs. 2,323 million for recurrent expenditure. Minister Devananda emphasized the importance of utilizing these funds to enhance the overall development of the country, particularly focusing on improving the livelihoods of the fishermen. He also called for support from domestic and foreign private investments to further boost the marine industry.
Owing to the surge in fuel prices, the fishing industry in Sri Lanka has experienced significant setbacks. Acknowledging the uncontrollable fluctuations in international fuel prices, the government cannot be held responsible for the resulting increase in prices domestically. In response to this challenge, strategic plans are underway to enhance the maritime sector by maximizing available opportunities. The government is actively exploring various alternative methods, with a specific focus on reducing both fuel and production costs within the fishing industry.
Concurrently, a comprehensive study has been undertaken to assess the viability of incorporating battery motors in fishing boats. This initiative aims to alleviate the production costs for fishermen and address the on-going challenges associated with fuel consumption. Experimental trials have been conducted in this domain to gauge the effectiveness and feasibility of integrating battery-powered motors into fishing activities.
The Minister highlighted the forthcoming introduction of a new amended Act on Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, emphasizing the collaborative approach taken to seek expert opinions and improve the draft.
The matter of Indian fishermen participating in fishing activities within Sri Lankan waters necessitates a diplomatic resolution between the two nations. As per the Constitution of India, fisheries issues fall under the jurisdiction of the state government. In line with this, it is the Minister’s stance that the most effective solution involves direct engagement. Therefore, he advocates for all members of parliament representing the Northern Province to engage in discussions directly with Indian authorities, including those from Pondicherry and the Tamil Nadu state government and the Indian Media.