No ban on Maldive fish products in Sri Lanka: Shahid

Pole and line fishermen land skip jack tuna in the Maldives. Pole and line fishing is a selective, sustainable and equitable method of catching tuna. : Photo - Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Male’, Maldives – The Maldivian Government has said that the Government of Sri-Lanka has informed them that Maldivian fish products face no restriction for export to Sri-Lanka.

This statement comes after a recent shipment of Maldivian fish products ware held up at Sri Lankan Customs, which was later released and cleared for distribution

Minister of Foreign Affairs thanks the Sri-Lankan authorities following their decision to not impose a ban on Maldivian fish products

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced in August that there were plans to halt the import of fish products as part of the measures to protect the country’s domestic industries from foreign competition.

However, during a meeting Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid had with Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and State Minister of Finance Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the Sri Lankan government assured the Maldives that trade of Maldivian fishing products will proceed without any restrictions.

Speaking yesterday at an airport opening ceremony in Ha. Hoarafushi, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that there are some mentions of salted and smoked fish products facing restrctions for export to Ceylon, and the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have already resulted in a guarantee that fish exports will be easily exported to Sri-Lanka.

Sri Lanka has also recently increased it’s duty on imported fish, dry fish and the fish exported from Maldives, to an additional 302 Sri Lankan rupees (roughly USD 2) per kilogram of fish.

Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture Zaha Waheed has previously said even if Sri Lanka prohibits fish imports, there would be little cause for concern, and mentioned ongoing efforts to establish fisheries exports to more profitable markets such as China and Russia.