Fishing prohibited in sea area around X-Press Pearl | Daily News

Fishing prohibited in sea area around X-Press Pearl

Fishing will be prohibited in the sea area where the X-Press Pearl ship caught on fire until the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) and the National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) assure otherwise, State Minister of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish & Prawn Farming, Fishery Development, Multi day Fishing Activities and Fish Exports Kanchana Wijesekara said yesterday (28).

Fishing in the said area was temporarily halted following the ship’s fire that discharged toxins and chemicals to the ocean.

The MEPA and NARA along with the expert committee appointed to look into the matter will undertake a definitive study and decide whether the area is safe to recommence fishing activities, Wijesekara explained.

These limitations are not applicable to fishermen outside this area or the multi-day vessels who go for deep sea fishing, State Minister Wijesekara noted.

Wijesekara made these observations at a press briefing held at the Government Information Department to update the public on the X-Press Pearl ship tragedy.

State Minister Wijesekara also stressed that people should not entertain any fear on consuming fish as all the fish stocks available at the local markets had been harvested before the manmade disaster.

“There is nothing to fear about consuming the fish stocks available at the market. All the stocks were harvested before this disaster. Since it was the Vesak festival, the fishing community suspended fishing activities for about three days as a traditional practice. The Peliyagoda main fishing market was also closed for three days. As soon as the disaster hit, we suspended fishing activities in this area. We shall continue to carry out this limitation until the MEPA and the NARA assure that it is safe to restart fishing activities.” Wijesekara pointed out.

State Minister Wijesekara also observed that in case people express a reluctance to purchase fish, the government has already come up with a plan to buy the fish stocks directly from the markets.