Sri Lanka's fisher community leader, MP Wedaarachchi encourages people to eat fish
Sri Lanka's major opposition MP Dilip Wedaarachchi ate raw fish today before media and urged people to eat fish to save fishermen. He said fish is safe despite COVID-19 and people must eat it at this difficult moment of the industry. Wedaarachchi said that he hailed from a family of fisher community leaders and knew how safe this nutritious food was.
"There are about 35-40 types of small fishing industries and 300,000 fishermen in the country. About 1.2 million people depend from this industry," Wedaarachchi pointed out highlighting they had lost their livelihood because the product could not be sold.
"In Sri Lanka, there are 3500 multi-day vessels. About 1,650 of them catch tuna for exports. Around the country, there are about 900 Madel (big fish net) venues and 3,000 people depend on that industry alone. Sri Lanka has 1,200 million kilo capacity of cool rooms but they have not been properly maintained. The previous government allocated money but the then Minister of Fisheries Mahinda Amaraweera must answer to the question of what happened to the allocations," Wedaarachchi charged.
He urged the government to lease cool rooms from the private sector, to buy fish from the fisher community, to conduct scientific tests and make aware the public, to provide loans to the multi-day vessel owners who require over Rs. 500,000 worth supplies for the next trip and to provide Rs. 5,000 COVID-19 relief to small fishermen.
He also urged the government not to allow the health officials in Negambo to disturb the drying of fish in the beach.