Australian High Commissioner David Holly said the monitoring system would help in preventing illegal fishing, ensuring border protection and security in Indian Ocean Region, preventing human and drug trafficking and rescuing fishermen in distressed vessels.
The monitoring system consisting of 4,200 transponders, equipment for a monitoring centre and satellite facilities is valued at 5.38 million Australian Dollars. The monitoring centre will be set up under the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The first set of transponders was symbolically handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by Australian High Commissioner David Holly at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday (July 16).
A total of 1,250 such transponders were installed at multi-day fishing vessels in 2015, but most of them are currently inactive. The High Commissioner drew the attention to the request made by Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda to assist in updating these transponders.
Sarat Dash, Chief of Mission at International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Sri Lanka, said that this monitoring system would go a long way in strengthening the people-centric economic policy and enhancing the fish and fisheries export process in line with international standards.
The President emphasized the importance of the monitoring system to Sri Lanka’s maritime security, which is situated at a unique geographical location. The President extended his gratitude to the Government of Australia for its continued and unwavering support to the Sri Lankan Government.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, State Minister of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish & Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multi-Day Fishing Activities and Fish Exports Kanchana Wijesekera, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Secretaries to the Ministries, Heads of Defence Forces, Officials from the Australian High Commission and the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources were also present.