Seychelles, Sri Lanka seek to boost ties in fisheries


26-October-2012

Dr Senaratne is welcome by President Michel at State House

Yesterday the visiting Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and his delegation held talks with President James Michel and Vice-President Danny Faure at State House.

Dr Senaratne’s visit is another outcome of President Michel‘s visit to Sri Lanka in August during which the Seychellois head of state and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed to increase cooperation in the fisheries sector.

It comes at the invitation of Natural Resources and Industry’s Minister Peter Sinon who was also part of the Presidential delegation which visited Sri Lanka.

In a press statement issued by State House after the talks yesterday President Michel said:

“Seychelles and Sri Lanka are establishing a solid platform for fisheries cooperation, which will be mutually beneficial. We share the same ocean, we have the same aspirations, and we have similar challenges. Together we can share expertise and work together to exploit the blue economy more effectively. We welcome the visit of Dr Senaratne as a sign of the increasing partnership between our two countries and the progress of our discussions,” said President Michel.

Speaking to the press after discussing with the two Seychellois leaders, Dr Senaratne said his visit is to explore areas for cooperation in both marine and aquaculture fisheries development.

He said he is being accompanied by the heads of various related institutions -- namely the chairperson of the boat manufacturing who will help Seychelles with setting up a boatyard and discuss material supplies and other related issues, the chairperson of marine research who will hold talks on cooperation in that area now that Sri Lanka has just purchased a marine research vessel.

Noting that marine fishing is getting limited all over the world, Dr Senaratne said the future is for aquaculture.

“There is no growth in marine fishing anymore while aquaculture has a growth of 8% every year and 90% of aquaculture comes from Asia,” said Dr Senaratne.

He said Sri Lanka is willing to share its expertise with Seychelles to develop aquaculture farms on some of the uninhabited islands.

He further noted that Seychelles has a lot of potential for aquaculture development and its vast expanse of marine area could be used for fish production.

“Fisheries like tourism can be a large foreign exchange earner for Seychelles,” he stressed.

During his visit Dr Senaratne and his delegation will also pursue discussions with Minister Sinon and other high level officials from ministries and related agencies, in preparation of a development plan to improve fisheries in Seychelles as well as other agricultural and trade initiatives.

“There are many opportunities for cooperation in fisheries between our two island nations ... We have started a very aggressive programme of fisheries in Sri Lanka, so I want to introduce the same thing in Seychelles,” said Dr. Senaratne.

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