Meeting with the Minister of Fisheries and Seafood of Norway

06-09-2020

Ambassador H.E. Godfrey Cooray met Hon. Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, Minister of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Seafood on 31.08.2020 at the Ministry. The Minister of Fisheries and Seafood accompanied Ms. Vibeke Greni, Director, Trade Policy Department, Ms. Ine Charlott Paulsen, Specialist Director, Trade Policy Department and Mr. Kristoffer Krogh Bjørklund, Senior Advisor, Fisheries Department. Mrs. Samanmali Atalugama, Second Secretary and Mrs. Rosie Jones, Business Development Officer have attended the meeting from the Sri Lankan side.

 Hon. Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen and the senior officials of the Fisheries Ministry have warmly welcomed the Sri Lanka Delegation headed by H.E. Godfrey Cooray, the Ambassador. Hon. Minister has congratulated the Ambassador on his appointment as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Norway, Finland and Iceland.

 Ambassador thanked the Norwegian Delegation for giving the opportunity and he conveyed that with the new concept of “Saubhagye Dakma” of His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapakse which targets a massive progress in the fisheries sector. Sri Lanka will halt the importation of fish into the country as our motherland is surrounded by the ocean. Further, President will introduce a comprehensive programme to provide new technology and equipment needed to enhance the fisheries sector. All the fishery harbours will be modernized to provide facilities for multi-day fishing boats that fish in deep seas. Ambassador stated that It is part of our strategy to introduce new technology to develop the inland freshwater fisheries industry.

 Ambassador Cooray has also given a brief introduction on the longstanding Fisheries Cooporation by and between the two countries. He further explained present and future Research and Development Collaboration in the fisheries and aquatic resources sector in Sri Lanka.

 Further, Ambassador explained that the Fisheries Sector in Sri Lanka plays a vital role in economic social lifestyle development by providing direct and indirect opportunities for about 6,25,000 employees and also giving livelihoods for more than 2.7 million coastal communities. It provides more than 60% protein requirement of people in the country. The total fish production of the country in 2017 is as 531,310 Metric Tons. While the rest inland and aquaculture 81,870 Metric Tons.

H.E. Cooray has also conveyed that the Master Plan has to be prepared in line with the Fisheries policy developed under Norwegian assistance and preparation of health guidelines for fisheries sector. It has been revealed that the policy document has already been prepared under the technical and financial assistance of Norway and Master plan should be developed in line with the policy document for the successful implementation of the fisheries policies in Sri Lanka.

 Further, Ambassador has requested the Norwegian side to explore the possibility of obtaining  RV Dr.Fridjof Nansan Vessel to conduct marine resource surveying every three years interval and strengthening capacities of NARA RV Samudrika vessel for conducting marine surveys.

 H.E. Cooray highlighted that after 1978 survey conducted by RV Dr.Fridjof Nansan, 2018 also conducted marine resource survey and emphasized the need of R/V Dr. Fridjof Nansan every three years

interval to continuously monitor the resources for preparation of proper management plan for the sustainable marine fisheries.

 Ambassador has highlighted the importance of building the capacities of fisheries scientists to use of novel models for accurate fish stock assessment. He also added that IMR-NARA First Phase (2016-2019)- to establish proper fisheries data base through successfully implementation of Fisheries dependent survey and Fisheries Independent survey to use fisheries data for preparation management plans. Further he stated that Sri Lankan scientists should be trained to do the data analysis using novel fisheries stock assessment models.

 Ambassador explained the importance of accurate forecasting of potential fishing zones by using novel satellite technology to shorten the multiday boat fishing duration.

 Extraction and characterization of Bioactive compounds from marine organisms in Sri Lankan coastal waters was identified as one of the important research areas. Ambassador has requested technical assistance to extract, identify and quantify pharmaceutical compounds from marine organisms. Sri Lanka has vast marine biodiversity and there are high value bio active compounds in marine organisms. Those compounds can be extracted using sophisticated technology.

 H.E. Cooray further stated that Sri Lanka has good pelagic fish resources (fish live between sea surface to 200m depth)- Tuna and sardinella species etc. Also, Mesopelagic fish live between 200m to 1000m depth. This fish resources are not harvested now. These resources should be utilized without damaging to the ecosystem and food web. Therefore, Ambassador suggested an assessment and sustainable utilization of mesopelagic marine biological resources is needed in Sri Lanka.

 Further H.E. Cooray emphasized the importance of establishment of proper quality and safety certification system for fish and fisheries products. Proper fish quality and safety is important in the assure the safety of the consumers. Presently, there is no proper quality and safety certification system. Sri Lanka has to develop the proper safety and quality certification including MSC (Marine stewardship Council) certification. This should be developed for local as well as for the export market. Therefore, Ambassador Cooray has requested assistance in this regard.

 Exploration of marine nonliving resources is needed. Sri Lanka always concern about marine living resources. There are high value marine mineral resources in seabed of Sri Lanka marine waters. These resources should be identified, quantified and sustainable utilization of the resources. H.E. Cooray has requested assistance to carry our mineral resources surveys, identify the areas for the exploration of marine non-living resources.

 Further, the Ambassador has highlighted that the plastic pollution is a serious problem in aquatic environment especially marine waters in the world. Microplastics also serious issue and human can consume microplastic through small fish varieties. Identification of sources of pollution, areas and density of microplastic is important to know the status and classification and to minimize the plastic pollution in the ocean. Therefore, the technical assistance is needed to carry out the studies.

 H.E. Cooray has also stated that after harvesting fishes are brought to fishery harbours and to improve the quality of landed fish, hygienic conditions in fishery habours are very important. Therefore, continuous monitoring is required to maintain the good habour conditions. Ministry of Fisheries in Sri Lanka is planning to introduce green habour concept for the 22 major fisheries habours in the country. Therefore, Ambassador has requested technical assistance from the Norwegian Government for the development of green habours.

Further the Ambassador has explained the importance of introducing intensive aquaculture farming systems (Recirculation Aquaculture Systems) to increase aquaculture production in the country. It is not possible to increase fish production through capture fisheries. Therefore, aquaculture industry should be developed. There is a lack of available and suitable land for aquaculture. Sheltered areas are scares for marine aquaculture. Hence high-density aquaculture technology should be introduced. Therefore, the technical assistance is required.

 Ambassador also reminded that the bilateral cooperation project started in 2017 within the aim of improving management of the fish resources of Sri Lanka.

The main objective of phase 1 of the project was to provide technical assistance to upgrade existing fisheries dependent data collection and technical assistance and training and conducting fisheries independent marine research survey.

Significant progress towards establishing both a system for the collection of fisheries dependent data and building competence for conducting scientific survey was made during phase I 2017 –

 2019.However a permanent system for regular collection of commercial landing data is not yet established.

 Similarly, fisheries independent surveying is not a solid integrated routine activity at National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA). The Ambassador shared his knowledge as he had been the Chairman of NARA in the past.

 Accordingly, H.E. Cooray highlighted that Sri Lanka is bit particular of Phase II of the project for 3-year period 2020 – 2022.

 Subsequently, H.E. Cooray has given the undermentioned brief introduction on the present Collaboration with Norway.

 

Phase I 2016-2019

 “Sri Lanka – Norway Bilateral project” to improve the management of the fish resources of Sri Lanka

 Improving the fisheries research and management institutions in Sri Lanka by;

 1.       Improved fisheries data collection system for coastal fisheries to provide reliable statistical landing data covering the entire country for sustainable management of the coastal fisheries.

 2.       Providing technical assistance and competence building in fisheries research through fisheries independent surveying

 3.       Improve fisheries management, in accordance with UNFSA's Precautionary Approach

 Phase II 2020-2022

 Improved management of the marine fish resources in Sri Lanka

 Outcome 1: Improved collection, storage and use of fisheries dependent data

 Outputs

 1.       Digital system for fisheries landing data implemented

 2.       Sampling programme for fisheries landing data improved

 3.       Training in statistics and data analysis conducted

 4.       Establish effective cooperation with defined responsibilities between NARA, DFAR, MFAR on landing data collection and sharing

 Outcome 2: NARA scientists have increased capability to plan, conduct and report findings from fisheries independent surveys according to scientifically recognized norms

 

Outputs

 1.       RV “Samuddrika” is technically and operationally suited to conduct fisheries independent surveys

 2.       Practical and theoretical training in fisheries independent surveying conducted

 3.       Systems implemented by NARA to manage and safeguard data from the time-series surveys in a central repository.

 4.       NARA has established procedures and structures for planning surveys with RV “Samuddrika”

 Outcome 3: Management decisions are in accordance with the precautionary approach and are based on improved scientific research and fisheries statistics.

 

Outputs

 1.       Fisheries management plans are implemented

 2.       Specific fisheries regulations relevant for management plan developed

 3.       Support DFAR/MFARD to conduct impact assessment of management measures

  

Hon. Minister of Fisheries and Seafood of Norway Mr. Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen has explained that the Ministry is responsible for the trade, industry and seafood policy. He further highlighted that the Norwegian ocean area is six to seven times that of mainland Norway. Norwegian seafood industry is delivering seafood to consumers in more than 130 countries. In recent decades, Norway’s fishing industry has developed from a ‘free fishing’ activity to a fully-fledged industry complete with quotas and concessions.

 Fisheries and Aquaculture are the most important occupation along stretches of Norwegian coast, about 26,000 people are employed and total population is 5.3 million. We are self-sufficient in fisheries sector with modern technology with expertise knowledge. We have fisheries universities and fisheries schools too.

 Ambassador Cooray thanked the Hon. Minister of Fisheries and explained that Dr. H.M.P. Kithsiri as the Deputy Director General (Research and Development) at NARA and as the Sri Lanka National Project Coordinator of the Norway-Sri Lanka project on Technical Assistance to improve the management of the fisheries resources in Sri Lanka in the first phase (2016-2019) coordinated all three work packages among IMR Norway, NARA and the Department of Fisheries. In addition, regular meetings were conducted with the three institutes to discuss the progress of the project activities. During the first phase it has been finalized the sampling strategy and sampling format for the collection of reliable data for the preparation of fisheries management plans. Dr. Kithsiri also coordinator of the second phase on improved management of the marine resources in Sri Lanka Phase II (2020-2022) and the project will be helpful to establish sustainable marine fisheries resources management in the country.