The government has betrayed the rights of the fishing community: Opposition Leader (VIDEO)
The fishing community in Sri Lanka is suffering and the government has not taken any action in compensating the fishing community for the damage caused by the X-Press Pearl disaster, said Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, during his visit to Ambalangoda Fisheries Harbour to meet the fishing community living in the area today (14), as another phase of the 'Govi Hadagesma' (Pulse of the Farmer) initiative undertaken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) to address the hassles faced by the farming community of Sri Lanka.
The development of the Ambalangoda Fisheries Harbour will be carried out under the SJB government and the task of rebuilding the lives of the fishing community in Sri Lanka will be guaranteed, Premadasa promised.
Former Ministers Gayantha Karunathilake and Dileep Wedarachchi, former MPs Bandula Lal Bandarigoda and Wijayapala Hettiarachchi and many other SJB public representatives were present at the occasion.
The government's submission to multinational companies made it a puppet and the rights of the fishing community of Sri Lanka have been betrayed to dollars, he pointed out.
Although the country has an exclusive economic zone of more than 200 nautical miles around the island, which by estimation is more than eight times larger than the land area, the fisheries industry contributes only 1.2 - 1.3 per cent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), the Opposition Leader pointed out.
He revealed that less than 20 per cent of the country's fish harvest are at the export quality, adding that a massive revolutionary change, therefore, must be made in the fisheries industry. A long-term sustainable national policy, which does not change once every five years, must be adopted in this regard, Premadasa added.
It is the vision of the SJB to make the country self-sufficient in quality fish consumption and to develop it into an export fish resource, he went on, denoting that the SJB has a fisheries research committee with practical and objective knowledge in this regard. The fisheries policy of the SJB is currently being formulated by the committee, he added.
In the event that the fishing community itself is more knowledgeable in the struggles faced in the fisheries industry, their opinions would be very important in the formulation process, Premadasa emphasised.