Fish production to hit 6,85,000 MTs in 2013
Sri Lanka imported canned fish, dried fish and sprats worth over Rs.
16,420 million last year. The government has implemented projects to
meet the country's fish requirement said Fisheries and Aquatic Resource
Development Minister Rajitha Senaratna in an interview with the Sunday
Q: President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened a canned fish factory at the
Galle harbour constructed at a cost of Rs. 84 million last week.
This is a long overdue project which your predecessors too were
interested in but never got off the ground.
A: The first cannery was set up in Pesalai, Mannar in 1980 followed
by a number of mini canneries.
Terrorism did not warrant the functioning of any existing commercial
pursuits in the North and the East let along commissioning new ventures.
The Ceyfish cannery in Galle is a private-public venture between the
Ceylon Fisheries Corporation and Happy Cook Lanka Foods (Pvt) Ltd. It
has a capacity to produce 10,000 tins a day which could be increased to
12,000 within a few months and around 20,000 at the final stage of the
project. Ceyfish, the new product will initially cater to the local
Q: Will it be cheaper than imported canned fish?
A: It will be cheaper than the current prices ranging from Rs. 250 to
Rs. 290 for a 425g fish tin.
Q: When will the next two factories be opened.
A: Work on the canned factories at Peliyagoda and Mundalama has been
completed and these factories will be opened soon. They have a
production capacity of 50,000 cans a day.
Q: what is the present situation of fish imports to Sri Lanka.ThA:
Sri Lanka requires over 51,400 kilograms of canned fish daily which is
over 100,000 fish tins.
Around Rs. 5,120 million is spent on imported canned fish. From Rs.
3,536 million to Rs. 5,118 million was spent on imported canned fish
during 2009, 2010, and 2011. Sri Lanka also imports dry fish, sprats and
Around 27,593 metric tons of these varieties of fish at a cost of Rs.
4,328 million were imported in 2011. Our aim is to develop the local dry
fish, sprats and maldive fish industries.
Q: Would you explain your development strategies to improve the dry
fish and maldive fish production.
A: The first maldive fish factory will be opened in the Industrial
Zone in Kalutara before the end of this year. A maldive fish producer in
Japan had agreed to set up maldive fish factory in Sri Lanka. The
consumers would be able to purchase maldive fish at half the present
market price after the factory is set up. The fisher community also has
commenced producing dried fish, sprats and maldive fish as a cottage
The Ceyfish factory
Assistance such as loans technical know-how will be provided to them.
The fisheries ministry also hopes to set up a few factories to produce
maldive fish, dry fish and sprats. Discussions were held with
Q: The fish consumption in the country has increased annually. Are
there plans to increase fish production?
A: Fisheries ministry has targeted a harvest of 6,85,000 MT in 2013.
Discussions are being held with Somalia, and Bangladesh seeking
permission for fishing in their seas which have abundant fish resource.
Our fisherman should venture into deepseas. Boats, ships and fishing
gears for deepsea fishing will be provided to fishermen. The fishing
profession will be made a profitable career soon.
Q: The fishing industry resumed operations with the liberation of the
North and the East. What is the current progress?
A: The Northern and Eastern provinces provided 43 percent of the fish
harvest in the country before the conflict. It dropped to eight percent
In the past two years the fisheries ministry achieved a noteworthy
progress in the the North and the East, as fish production increased by
Currently the North and the East provinces accounts for 13 percent of
the national production. All measures are in place to increase this to
23 percent at the end of this year. The target is to double this amount