President Mahinda Rajapakse hands over about 50 million rupees worth of fishing gear to fishermen, who suffered various calamities.
President Rajapakse pointed out that the fishermen should work jointly with the world within globalisation, to develop the fishery industry. Fishermen should be encouraged to exploit resources in the deep sea. A high yield will help to bring down prices and also strengthen the economy of the fishermen. Fish products are being exported, earning an income and also strengthening the economy of the fisher folk. He added that the
government and the Fisheries Minister expect to uplift the living conditions of fishermen.
The president was speaking at a ceremony, providing boats and mechanized engines to fishermen at Temple Trees. These were distributed among fishermen who experienced various disasters while engaging in their profession. Among them were 18 fishermen whose trawlers were devastated in a fire at the Kalametiya Fisheries Harbour in Tangalla last year. 40 engines for multi-day trawlers were handed over on behalf of trawlers destroyed in the tsunami. Minister Felix Perera expressed his gratitude for the relief provided to the fishermen. He said they are glad as a responsibility had been fulfilled under the guidance of the President.
The Fisheries Ministry said fish production this year has increased by about five percent. The total production last year was 300,000 metric tons. There are 12 special fisheries harbours in the country, including Beruwala, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Mirissa, Kudawella, Kirinda, Trincomalee, Kalpitiya, Negambo and Chilaw. A considerable number is engaged in the fisheries industry. 58 fishermen received benefits from the President. They were selected from among those who faced calamities in areas such as Trincomalee, Ampara, Hambantota, Tangalla, Matara and Galle. The Fisheries Ministry and the World Food and Agriculture Organization contributed to this cause. The Resident Representative of the Organization Won Shing was present.