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Japanese And Chinese To Help Boost Sri Lankan Tuna Catches Sri Lanka, May 23, 13

Sri Lanka is planning to boost deep sea fishing and double tuna exports by 2015 with the help of new vessels from Japan and China, Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. “We hope to increase exports from 250 million US dollars to about 500 million”.
He said Kiyoshi Kimura of Japan, known as Tuna King, has visited Sri Lanka and he expects to bring about 4 vessels for deep sea fishing. Kimura runs a sushi restaurant chain in Japan.

Kimura also intends to build vessels in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s Cey-Nor company to be operated out of Sri Lanka, he expressed.

Kimura is eventually expected to help operate fleet of 20 vessels from Sri Lanka. In addition, Senarathne said there would be around 20 Chinese vessels also expected to operate from Sri Lanka with about 4 to 6 vessels expected shortly.

Vessels from both countries will be registered in Sri Lanka and operated under the Sri Lankan flag and they will land their catch and export from the island.

Furthermore, Senaratne informed he was starting a training course to train skippers and the Kimura had also agreed to take on Sri Lankan crew and train them.

Sri Lanka exported 256 million dollars worth of fisheries products last year out of which about 45 percent was tuna.

At the moment a few dozen foreign flagged deep sea fishing vessels from Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia were operating in international waters which landed their catch in Sri Lanka for export. There were about 200 landings a year.

Though Sri Lanka has about 3,000 multi-day boats only about 300 vessels are operated in the deep sea and most were engaged in coastal fisheries, he explained.

Very few went to international waters, and most of the catch in international waters in the Indian Ocean was made by vessels from developed nations, he said.

Developed nations were using large vessels with a capacity of 900 tons compared to 15 to 20 tons for Sri Lankan boats and some were using industrial purse seining which was a bad practice while Sri Lanka was using long line which caught the larger fish.

The large vessels use helicopters and satellite imagery to catch fish, and Sri Lanka would need 300 multi-day boats to match a single such vessel, he added.