Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that it is important to control Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported (IUU) fishing.
He said that fishing methods such as mechanised and bottom trawling have a multitude of negative externalities that need to be addressed in a holistic manner through multilateral cooperation.
The Minister was speaking at the Regional Symposium on Sustainable Development Goal organized by the Ministry of Fisheries and aquatic and rural economic development held today (June 21) at the Taj Samudra Hotel.
He said that reducing marine pollution and mitigating its effects in Sri Lanka has been prioritised in the 2018 budget under the Blue-Green initiatives, and the Government of Sri Lanka has allocated close to Rs.6B to implement long-term solutions to reduce and eliminate marine pollution and developing sustainable fishing practices.
Samaraweera said that the Government is taking initiatives to protect numerous lagoons around the island so as to restore their unique eco-systems and making them resilient to climate change.
“Hotels and other industries that dispose their waste to the ocean and lagoons will be assisted in investing in technology to ensure zero discharge of waste. The tourism sector stands to benefit significantly from sustainable management of marine resources. Accordingly, areas such as Pigeon Island, Bar Reef, and Delft Island have been declared as conservation and marine protected areas. Several conservation measures have been adopted to protect turtles, dolphins, sharks, whales, and other marine animals by establishing the regulations under the relevant legislation,” he said.
The Minister said that in order to build on these initiatives and ensure longevity, a virtual institute for the blue-green economy has been launched as a pilot project, to create and sustain spinout programmes identified under the Blue-Green initiative. (Colombo Gazette)