04/30/2016, 10.21
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Europe removes ban on fish imports from Sri Lanka

by Melani Manel Perera

The ban was imposed in January 2015 against Rajapaksa government’s inability to curb illegal fishing. Since 2012, Sri Lankan fishermen under check due to lack of deterrent measures and violation of international law. Colombo exported 68% of fish to EU. The losses amount to 100 million dollars a year. Activist: "It is the fault of the unlawful conduct OF some fishermen, who then had a negative impact on the entire industry."

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The European Union has decided to lift the ban on fish imports from Sri Lanka. Minister of Fisheries, Mahinda Amaraweera, has stated that European countries have decided to "lift the ban without conditions. We can now resume fish exports to Europe. "

Special envoy of the World Forum For Fisher People (WFFP) and national secretary of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) , Herman Kumara, commented on the news to AsiaNews. He stated that "the primary motivation of the call comes from the Iuu". The IUU is a European regulation approved in 2010 that aims to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The European legislation requires boats to expose their state flag and draws up a list of those authorized to fish and those who do not respect the laws.

The activist says that "vessels flying the flag of Sri Lanka will travel around the world. But it is the joint ventures that compete for fishing in international waters that cause the most damage to the fishermen of the motherland. The misbehavior of a few has had effects on the entire industry. "

The ban on the Asian island fish products was imposed in January 2015, due to the inability of the previous government of Mahinda Rajapaksa to prevent the illegal conduct of Sri Lankan fishermen who were fishing in international waters without permission. The fishermen's activities had been under surveillance since 2012, when the European Union had raised the "yellow card" lamenting lack of control, lack of deterrent measures and violation of international law on fishing.

The Colombo authorities declared a loss of $ 100 million a year because of the ban. The island was exporting 68% of its fish products to the EU; the remainder was directed to other countries, especially the US and Japan.

Herman Kumara confirms that the restriction has "caused serious damage to the fish industry, also due to the fact that the price of the fish dropped dramatically." He welcomed the EU decision and says that given that the European market absorbed almost all of the Sri Lankan tuna caught in deep seas, exports can now resume.

The elimination of the import ban, concludes the activist, "will lead to a further price increase. This will have positive effects on the lives of fishermen and their families, who have been extremely tested in recent months"

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