Sri Lanka starts installing Vessel Monitoring System to remove EU fish ban

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka has begun installing radio beacons on its fishing fleet to prevent illegal fishing and try remove a ban by the European Union on fish exports from the island.

The government is trying to comply with requirements of the EU by the end of the year to get the ban lifted, Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera was quoted as saying in a statement.

The main reason for the EU ban was illegal fishing by Sri Lankan fishermen in international waters, he said at the launch of a program to install the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) for multiday fishing boats at the Dikowita Fisheries Harbour.

Amaraweera said illegal fishing had affected the livelihoods of even those fishermen engaging in fishing in compliance with the law.

He said the Vessel Monitoring System could also be used to help fishermen locate fishing grounds and provide weather information.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is to install the VMS system in 1,615 multiday fishing boats free of charge.

The VMS enables boat locations to be monitored from the department’s operation center.

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