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Japan’s ‘tuna king’ to double Sri Lanka’s fish export income
Publication Date : 10-05-2013
Japan’s leading fish producer, known as ‘Tuna King’, Kiyomura Corporation Chairman Kiyoshi Kimura, will boost Sri Lanka’s deep sea fishing and double its fish export income.
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the agreements had been finalised with two companies from China and Japan to increase deep sea fishing, which had seen slow growth due to lack of equipment.
He said that with assistance of two Japanese and Chinese companies, Sri Lanka would be able to double the fish export income to around half a billion US Dollars by 2015.
According to him, currently Sri Lanka earned around US$250 million annually from fish exports, out of which 48 percent was from tuna.
Both companies would be registered in Sri Lanka and would operate under the Sri Lankan flag. Once they were in operation, the Sri Lankan government expected fishing revenue to double hitting US$500 million, he said adding that about 20 Chinese vessels were also expected to operate from Sri Lanka with about four to six vessels expected shortly.
"We are having discussions with other Chinese companies to enter the market as well," he said.
Senaratne said he was starting a training course to train skippers and the Kimura had also agreed to take on Sri Lankan crew and train them.
At the moment, a few dozen foreign flagged deep sea fishing vessels from Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia were operating in international waters and landed their catch in Sri Lanka for export. There were about 200 landings a year.
"Though Sri Lanka had about 3,000 multi-day boats, only about 300 vessels were operated in the deep sea and most were engaged in coastal fisheries," the Minister added.
Very few went to international waters, he said. Most of the catch in international waters in the Indian Ocean was made by vessels from developed nations, Dr. Senaratne added.