Sri Lanka Fisheries Minister warns fishermen not to catch young tuna

Skipjack tuna caught by pole-and-line are off loaded in Larantuka, Flores, Indonesia. Tuna products are the second biggest Indonesian fishery product exports, contributing 13 percent of total export value. Japan, the United States, and European Union countries have been the main market for fresh and frozen tuna from Indonesia. The waters between Indonesia and Australia in the east Indian Ocean are known to be an important spawning for yellowfin, bigeye, and bluefin tuna. Fishing practices like pole & line contribute to the long-term sustainability and evolution of the stock.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera cautioned the fishermen no to catch very young tuna fish as it would cause depletion of the Tuna fish in the island seas.

Minister Amaraweera said reports have been received that some fishermen are catching the small tuna fish in their nets and warned that the tuna population will be extinct if the practice continues.

The Minister told BBC Sinhala service that he has instructed the fishery officials to launch a program to prevent the fishermen from catching young tuna and to collect information on the young tuna population.

“As a second step, based on the information received, we will ban tuna fishing,” the Minister said.

When asked how to implement such a ban, the Minister said it is very easy to stop taking fishing nets away from the ports.

The Minister said he is not asking the fishermen not to catch the tuna, but the attention is focused on only the young fish weighing only 100-200 grams.

“Tuna can grow up to 120 -130 kilograms. When they catch these 100-200 gram fish we face the threat of extinction of the fish. We are attempting to control that,” the Minister said.

According to the Government Information Department, Sri Lanka’s fish production is 2.7% of the GDP and mainly exported to Germany, Britain, France, Netherlands and Italy,

 

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