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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 76

Asian Development Bank supported Fisheries Development Project in the Northern Province

Colombo, 13 June, (Asiantribune.com):

On the request of Government of Sri Lanka, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided a project preparatory technical assistance to formulate a project to revive the fisheries sector in the four conflict affected districts namely Jaffna, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi under the Northern Province sustainable fisheries development project.

The US$ 62 Mn ADB supported project intends to support the three identified feasible fisheries habours in Point Pedro in Jaffna district, Gurunagar in Jaffna district and Pesalai in Mannar district said Mr.V.Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Prisons Reform, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs.

Marine fish production declined due to conflict

Northern Province was one of the most productive fishing regions in the past. Fish production has decreased over the years due to the past 30 year old conflict that prevailed in the region. Fisheries infrastructure facilities are in the dilapidated stage and the proposed ADB funded project intends to develop fisheries habours, anchorages, landing sites, and related infrastructure facilities.

Prior to conflict, the Northern Province accounted for 40% of the marine fish catch. But, by 2009 it has declined to 7%. However, with the lifting of restriction to access coastal waters, the contribution has increased to 12%. Prior to the conflict, the Northern Province had only one fisheries habour in Jaffna peninsula which later came under the state authorities and as such the province does not have a single operational fisheries habour with modern facilities. As a result, the fishing community are unable to fully engage in off-shore deep sea fishing. Lack of fishing habour facilities and multiday boats with other facilities were limitations to develop the fisheries sector said Mr.V.Sivagnanasothy, the Ministry Secretary.

Point Pedro Fishery Habour

The initial Due Diligence study identified Point Pedro as sustainable location with concentration of fisheries activities and the study proposed a habour basin of 12 hectares, five meter depth in the habour basin are conducive for off shore deep sea vessel operations. It will be similar to Dickovita habour and has the potential to enable the fishermen to reach international waters. The tentative estimated cost is Rs.6 billion. The facilities includes breakwater, Quay wall, auction hall, cool room and ice plants, berthing facilities, dredging facilities and boat repairing facilities etc. This will enable the multiday boats to use the habour for offshore deep sea fishing.

Gurunagar Fishery Habour

The Gurunagar fishing habour located in Jaffna district is proposed to be developed under the ADB Project with the depth of 2.5 meters. The tentative estimated cost is Rs.4.8 billion. Currently, large number of one day boats and smaller boats are operating and the proposed facilities to be developed includes marine structures such as breakwater Quay wall, auction hall, cool room and ice plants, berthing facilities, dredging facilities and boat repairing facilities etc. This will enable the multiday boats to use the habour for offshore deep sea fishing despite the limitation of shallow water.

Pesalai Fishery Habour

The third habour will be developed in Pesalai, Mannar which is currently shallow but, concentrated with one day fishing boats and shore facilities are not available. It is proposed to have a depth of 3.5 meters to support multiday offshore deep sea fishing.

Fishery Anchorages

Currently in the Northern Province inadequate shelter for northeast monsoon, inadequate depth for access and mooring, inadequate space for beach landing, inadequate shore facilities have been constraints for fishing and boats are moored in shallow water.

The proposed ADB funded project therefore, aims to develop and strengthen anchorages by protection through breakwaters, dredging of basins, access channels and development of shore facilities. It is proposed to develop anchorages in twelve (12) sites in the Northern Province covering Mathagal, Munai, Polikandy east, Valvettithurai, Athkovilady, Thondamanaru, Mandaithivu and Thalathurai in Delft in Jaffna distirct and Pannakaddikoddu in Mannar and Palikuda, Nachchikuda and Valaikadu in Kilinochchi.

Development of Fishery Landing Sites

Further, a large number of landing sites will be developed mainly with shore facilities but, without marine structures in Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Mannar and Kilinochchi said Mr.V.Sivagnanasothy, the Ministry Secretary. Due Diligence will cover possible developments in the landing sites such as Sampodai, Kakkaithivu, Aralithurai, Sakkodai, Senthankulam, Punkuduthivu, Kolombuthurai and chulipuram in Jaffna District and some other sites in the above mentioned districts.

The project will also support aquaculture development specially the brackish water aquaculture, non-conventional livelihood activities such as sea cucumber, seaweed culture and crab fattening which have high income and export potentials.

The Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs will be the executing agency for the US$ 62 Million project and work in close collaboration with Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Ceylon Fisheries Habour Corporation, National Aquatic Development Authority and other relevant agencies to implement the project. The project once completed, will be the major boost to the fisheries sector in the Northern Province and contribute to improve the livelihood development of the resettled and conflict affected families said Mr.V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Prisons Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs.

- Asian Tribune -

Mr.V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary, Ministry of Prisons Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs.
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