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Government Gazette

Govt to improve harbours along the coastal belt:

Modern fishery harbour for Dikkowita - Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne


President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the opening of the Dikkowita Harbour

Minister Dr. Senaratne on an inspection tour of the Dikkowita Fishery Harbour
A section of the Dikkowita Fishery Harbour
The entrance to the harbour
Fishing vessels at the Dikkowita Fishery Harbour.
Pic: Saman Sri Wedage

The Dikkowita Fishery Harbour will be made into a state-of the-art fisheries harbour in the country as well as in the South Asian region, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said.

He said the Dikkowita Fishery Harbour will play an important role in achieving the goal of self-sufficiency in fish production while improving the living standards of the fisheries community.

A large number of fishermen and their families in Wattala and other areas in the region will benefit by the harbour.

The Dikkowita Harbour was opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in January, at a ceremony held under the patronage of Minister Senaratne.

The Government under the "Mahinda Chinthanaya" national development concept has taken steps to develop and improve Fishery harbours, anchorages and fisheries jetties along the coastal belt, including the North and the East.

Hikkaduwa, Beruwela, Puranawella and Mirissa Fishery harbours in the Southern coast will be upgraded to international standards, a Fisheries Ministry spokesman said.

The Government has inaugurated a 10-year development program to uplift the fresh water fisheries industry, Minister Senaratne said.

The Dikkowita Fishery Harbour was developed at a cost of Euro 53 million, the Sri Lanka Government contributed Euro 8 million, Euro 33.7 million composed loans and Euro 11.3 million is a grant from the Government of the Netherlands, Dr. Senaratne said.

We spoke to some fishermen in the Wattala area. Fisherman P. Sadhasivam said it is the duty of everyone to protect the harbour while benefiting from it.

There are over 604 fishermen in the Wattala area. Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, has provided assistance and incentives to improve the fisheries industry in the region. An improved fisheries industry will benefit the fishermen and help the Government to achieve its development goal in the fisheries industry, Sadhasivam said.

Sadhasivam expressed confidence that due to the timely moves taken by the Fisheries Ministry the industry will turn into a main income earning mode of the country in a couple of years.

He sought the assistance of the Government to purchase large vessels and multi-day vessels under a soft loan scheme. It will help to improve the industry. The harvest could be increased by several folds, he said.

The Government should provide larger vessels, so that we can stay a longer time at sea and get a better harvest, Sadhasivam said.

Fisherman Jagath Kumara said he is content with the facilities available in the Dikkowita Fishery Harbour. He said they enjoyed staying in the sea. "Depending on the climate we stay in the sea for more than two weeks, at times," he said.

He said there is no shortcoming in the harbour. There is sufficient water, fuel and ice in the premises. When we were looking for a harbour in the region, the Government provided us a harbour with all facilities.

Jagath Kumara said the Dikkowita Fishery Harbour will turn into a main contributor of the national economy.

R. Prematilake, the skipper of a multi-day boat said, unlike those days the harvest can be brought to land easily and unloaded easily, as transport facilities are available.

Fisherman Chandimal said there was enough room in the harbour, and that a large number of fishermen can mend and prepare fishing nets. A boatyard is also available in the harbour premises.

An officer at the Dikkowita Harbour, described the harbour as the gateway to prosperity.

The officer said all necessary facilities were available for fishermen. The harbour consists of an auction room, fishing net preservation centre, a cold room and an ice plant. There is a filling station, and diesel, kerosene oil and lubricants are available. The harbour has water, electricity, a fish purchasing centre, a boatyard, a pier and a fish preservation centre, he said.

A large number of fishing vessels can be anchored simultaneously. There are facilities to cater to all the vessels, the officer said. The Dikkowita Fishery Harbour is located in the Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha area, in the Gampaha District. The main objectives of the Dikkowita Harbour is to maximize the

contribution of the fisheries sector to the national economy, Minister Senaratne said. He expressed confidence that employment opportunities in the fisheries sector will also increase through the harbour.

Plans are afoot to attract and encourage local and foreign investments in the fisheries sector which will offer an efficient service for stakeholders, Ministry spokesman D.S.N. Rajapaksa said.

Steps will be taken to minimize post-harvest losses. Unloading and packing facilities will be provided to cater to the requirements of fish importing countries such as the EU, Japan, U.S.A, the Minister Senaratne said.

A special feature of the harbour is its location in close proximity to the airport and the Colombo Port. It will facilitate the Negombo lagoon and the Hamilton canal boats, as an alternative site to the Mutwal fishery harbour.

The southern basin will provide facilities for export oriented fishing vessels. It will provide berthing for 20-30 multi-day vessels at a time. It consists three off-loading and packing units, bunkering piers and three finger piers Ministry spokesman Rajapaksa said.

There is an administrative building with all facilities and office space for registered companies in the Dikkowita Fishery Harbour.

There is an ice- plant with a production capacity of 20 tons per day and storage capacity of 40 tons, the Ministry spokesman said.

A waste management system, oil spill protection equipments and fire fighting systems are available in the harbour. Vehicle parking areas, space for container storage facilities and a 24 hour security are the other facilities in the harbour, he said.

The northern basin will provide berthing facilities for approximately 400 to 450 multi-day, one-day vessels, the spokesman said.

He said the northern basin consists fuel dispensing units, storage capacity for 3 finger piers, 45m each, and an ice- plant with a production capacity of 20 tons per day. The storage capacity is 40 tons. A waste management system is also available, he said.

Oil spill protection equipments and fire fighting systems have been installed. Vehicle parking areas are available and a 24 hour security will be provided, the spokesman said.

The harbour provides safe and easy anchorage facility for 340 multi-day fishing vessels and 150 one day IBM boats, the Ministry sources said.

Conveyor belts in the harbour carry the fish harvest directly from ships to the cold rooms and subsequently to the processing units, he said.

The harbour can accommodate 490 to 350 local and 140 foreign vessels, the sources said.

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