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Third Tuna Cannery In Sri Lanka In The Making Sri Lanka, September 17, 12

Sri Lanka imports nearly USD 141 million worth of canned, dried and smoked fish annually. Our exports are worth about USD 190 million and consist mainly of tuna, shrimp and other fish, according to Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry sources.

The first canned fish factory was set up in Galle under a private-public partnership and the second was at Peliyagoda.

The third plant will be set up shortly, no details on ownership and investors are known yet.

Sri Lankans consume 100,000 cans of fish daily.

“European Union countries are Sri Lanka’s major market and 43 percent of our aquatic products are exported to these countries, 18 percent to Japan and nine percent to USA. We are now in the process of actively diversifying our products and markets to cushion our industry from various market shocks. Considering the good domestic market prices, the export of some items has become less and less attractive exporters. As such, value addition has become a necessity in this sector”, the sources said.

With a vast coastal area at its disposal, and as a sea-faring nation from time immemorial, Sri Lanka has a relatively large, vibrant fishing community. Fisheries provide direct employment to about 220,000 people while another 400,000 are employed in ancillary industries.

It is estimated that about 2.6 million, almost 12 percent of the population, is engaged in fishing-related livelihoods.

Thus it has become important to ensure the social welfare of this sector, the sources said.