Sri Lanka today asked the international community to ban all fishing methods that harm marine eco-systems worldwide.
“I want to take this opportunity to call for the discontinuation and banning of all fishing methods that harm marine eco-systems, worldwide, in particular, bottom trawling,” Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in his address to the ‘Our Ocean Conference 2016’, which concluded here yesterday.
In his address, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister outlined the commitments made by Sri Lanka under the themes – Marine Protected Areas, Marine Pollution, Sustainable Fisheries, and Climate and Ocean.
“By the end of this year, we will complete the construction of a sea turtle conservation complex to treat and provide a sanctuary for injured turtles and educate and create awareness among the local communities,” said Samaraweera.
Noting that amongst the different ecosystems in Sri Lanka, mangroves represent a unique collection of specialised fauna and flora adapted to survive in brackish water conditions and in inter-tidal zones, the Minister said the government is in process of drafting a National Policy for Conservation and the Sustainable Utilisation of Mangrove Ecosystems.
In July this year, to mark International Mangrove Day, President Maithripala Sirisena inaugurated the world’s first mangrove museum in Sri Lanka.
The President has also given leadership in declaring a ‘National Coastal and Marine Resources Conservation Week’ to be observed in September every year.
The first observance will take place from September 17 to September 23, he said.
Observing that Sri Lanka has already declared nine Marine Protected Areas in various parts of the country, Samaraweera said in addition, four new areas providing habitats for marine mammals, coral, migratory and shore birds, and other marine life will also be declared as Marine Protected Areas, shortly.
The Minister pledged to implement and improve the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan that will delineate responsibilities for the operational response to oil spills, and increase cooperation across sectors to coordinate and integrate their resources to respond effectively.