A technical dialogue mission from the European Union’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries concluded a visit to Colombo this week.
EU officials credited the Sri Lankan authorities for the progress that had been made to comply with the regulations of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, the EU office in Colombo said today.
The two sides agreed to work together on the further measures necessary to address the remaining shortcomings under the EU legislation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, with the aim of lifting the ban on fishery exports to the EU in the coming months.
The cabinet last month approved new laws on fishing as part of moves to convince the EU to remove the ban on Sri Lankan fisheries products.
The EU ban took effect in January this year as the former Government failed to prevent Sri Lankan fishermen from violating the international fisheries laws.
The new Government has prepared and is implementing an action plan to remove the ban.
A proposal made by Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, to amend the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act No 02 of 1996 has been approved by cabinet.
Accordingly penalties for the offences done in international waters will increase to conform to international standards.
Penalties will be decided based on the quantity of fish and the size of the vessel at the time of the offence. The new law will also see a new method of administrative penalty which is absent in the current act, and create a sustainable and responsible fisheries culture in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)