Fishermen across the country fell from the frying pan into the fire due to their inability to sell catches and keep domestic fires alight due to the country’s current environment, which added to the community’s problems.
The entire president of the Ceylon fishermen’s union, Aruna Roshantha, said that a large number of fishermen were confined to their homes because prices fell dramatically due to the sharp decline in demand.
“More than 70% of demand has fallen with buyers reluctant to go out and buy. We understand the current situation, but how to put food on the table and sustain our trade with the cost of living, including fuel prices, albeit incredibly high, ”he said.
Fishermen’s union leaders said intermediaries and people in the supply chain are making hay as the sun shines, exploring the situation in the country to raise fish prices through home delivery services.
“The intermediaries, for example, buy a kilo of fish for Rs. 600 of us and sell at Rs. 900. We urge the authorities to verify unfair trade and to charge errant traders, ”said a union leader. The fishing sector, which comprises more than 300,000 direct beneficiaries and another 200,000 indirect ones, contributes about 1.5% to the country’s GDP. “Fishermen have been facing many storms, especially after the outbreak of the deadly virus. We call on the authorities to convey the benefit of the fall in global oil prices, which will provide a sigh of relief for the community facing many problems, ”said Roshantha.
While kerosene is used primarily by small day boats, diesel is used by operators for several days.
U.S. oil dropped to less than $ 15 a barrel last week, the lowest level in more than two decades, with traders concerned that storage facilities are filling up as the coronavirus pandemic strangles demand .
“Given the serious health implications of venturing into business and other daily tasks, what we propose is for the government to provide food and medicine to free people to minimize interaction and transactions that will help stem the spread of the virus” , he stated. The fisheries sector has emerged as an important source of foreign exchange, with Sri Lanka gaining the status of list 01 for exports to Europe and increasing its market share in the Japanese and North American markets. Exports include various items of high-value fish and fishery products, such as chilled and frozen tuna and other marine products, such as shrimp, lobster, shark fin and sea cucumber.
Sri Lanka has exclusive economic and fishing rights over an ocean area of 500,000 square kilometers and a coastline of 1,700 km, in addition to inland water bodies, making fishing one of the country’s most promising industries. However, the exploitation of nature and the resource has been unsatisfactory, with opportunities for greater volume of exports not being taken advantage of. Sri Lanka has received tax-free access to a large number of items exported to the EU market under the GSP Plus mechanism.