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Key Talks With EU

By Easwaran Rutnam

The new government has begun talks with the European Union (EU) on the ban on Sri Lankan fish imports and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will travel to Brussels this week in an attempt to get the ban reversed.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed Niranjan Deva Aditya, a Member of the European Parliament, to mediate between the EU and the government. The ban on Sri Lankan fish imports took effect on January 15 after the Sri Lankan government failed to comply with international rules on illegal fishing. However, the new government under President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had decided to submit to Parliament an urgent bill which will look to ensure fishing is conducted based on international norms. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will look to brief the EU on the steps to be taken by the new government to meet EU expectations.

Sri Lanka is the second biggest exporter of fresh and chilled swordfish and tuna to the EU (74 million € of imports in 2013) and in those circumstances the EU had said it cannot tolerate not to know whether the fish they import into the EU was caught sustainably or not.

The European Commission had said that in November 2012, the EU sent a warning to Sri Lanka saying they were not complying with international rules on illegal fishing and their control systems were inadequate. European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said last October that two years later, not much had changed and the same problems were still there and were even getting worse.

1 Comment for “Key Talks With EU”

  1. Good to see the government get into matters of international collaboration. This one in particular (if the restrictions came into play) could have had an impact on a large number of people. Sustainable fishing could have benefits to the fisheries industry in Lanka as well.

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