Importing Fish From China Irks Galle Fishermen
By Nirmala Kannangara
The Fisheries Corporation’s failure to purchase fish from the local market for the canning process has irked fishermen in Galle.
The fishermen accused the Fisheries Corporation for importing ‘Round Scad’ which is locally known as ‘linna paraw’ from China when ample stocks of this fish variety are available in the local market. “Had they purchase this from us not only can we improve our living standards but also the country could save millions of foreign exchange,” said G.P.S. Mahendra, Treasurer Rural Fisheries Organization Galle.
However, Deputy Chairman Fisheries Corporation Shantha Herath said that they have to import Mackerel from China, as there is no suitable substitute found in Sri Lankan seas. “This canned fish factory is not a government owned factory but a joint venture with Happy Cook Food (Pvt) Ltd. It is they who import these fish.
The Fisheries Corporation has only provided the cold room facilities and the buildings. All other investments have been done by the other party. Although we are still importing Mackerel from China from the inception, we have carried out experiments as how to use ‘linna paraw’ as a substitute,” Herath said.
Herath further said that the country’s produce would not be sufficient to run the industry.
“Although fishermen accuse us for not buying fish from them what can we do if the country cannot supply our requirement.
Hence we will have to import even in future during the off season,” said Herath.