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Permitted Fishing Nets for Inland Fishermen

SRI LANKA - The Fisheries, Electricity, Housing and Construction Minister of the Wayamba Provincial Council, Sanath Nishantha Perera, handed over a consignment of 25 legally permitted fishing nets to inland fishermen, in exchange for their banned fishing nets and gear, which he accepted at a meeting held at the Wayamba National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) office, in Bingiriya.

The fishermen formally thanked the minister for accepting the banned fishing nets in lieu of legally permitted fishing nets. The Minister said prohibitive fishing gear was extensively used by both the marine and inland fresh-water fishermen. By using prohibitive fishing gear, the fish depleted, yet the resources of fish should not be exhausted. Therefore fish fingerlings were essential for breeding.

The Minister said that the Wayamba Fisheries Ministry has launched a novel scheme to assist fishermen who use prohibitive fishing nets. From time to time the ministry stocked fish-fingerlings into tanks, reservoirs and ponds for breeding purposes, reports DailyNews.

The fish must rapidly grow and proliferate before being harvested. Now that fishermen have been encouraged by handing over legal nets, they should not over-fish by using prohibitive fishing nets.

The Minister pointed out that the ministry also embarked on a novel venture to distribute inland fishing boats to needy fishermen.

The ministry has taken steps to expand the extensive work of the government and boost freshwater fisheries in the provinces and augment the fish harvest.

In addition, the minister also distributed fifty-five inland fibre glass fishing boats to fishermen engaged in fishing activities in perennial tanks and ponds.

He stressed that they received a subsidiary income, in addition to their customary agricultural pursuits that they engaged in far-flung villages.

He also said the boats were given as relief assistance. Accordingly, 55 fishing boats were distributed to 24 fishery committees.

The total cost was over two million rupees.

The Minister added all these were doled out as incentives to fishermen by the government to eke out a dependable living and obtain an additional income to sustain their families and provide protein-rich fish for the nation.

Wayamba Provincial Member Somasiri Gunatilleke, Wayamba Provincial director Suraj Sirisena and NAQDA district officer M. K. A. D. Madurawela participated at the meeting.

Lucy Towers

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