Lanka hopeful EU fishing ban will be lifted by 2016

Colombo, Dec 22 (IANS) Sri Lanka is expecting a fishing ban imposed by the European Parliament to be lifted by the middle of next year, local media reported on Tuesday.

“During the coming months, the proposal to lift the fishing ban will be presented to the European Parliament,” Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.

“We are losing over $100 million per year because of this ban. So we are expecting a favourable response from them before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year (local new year) in 2016.”

Amaraweera added that they have installed Vessel Monitoring Systems on the vessels operating in international waters in order to stop fishing in prohibited areas.

Sri Lanka’s fish exports to the European Union make up 68 percent of its total fish exports, which brings in $160 million annually.

The remaining 32 percent is sent to the US, Japan and other non-EU countries.

The EU ban took effect in January 2015, over the failure of the previous government to prevent local fishermen from violating international fisheries laws.

The new government, however, said that it has taken action to ensure that the fishermen comply with all the conditions laid down by the EU.

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