NARA and IMR, Norway to cooperate in fisheries research | Daily News

NARA and IMR, Norway to cooperate in fisheries research

Ambassador of Norway to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Trine Jøranli Eskedal with Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and State Minister of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish and Prawn Farming Kanchana Wijesekera.
Ambassador of Norway to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Trine Jøranli Eskedal with Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and State Minister of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish and Prawn Farming Kanchana Wijesekera.

The National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) and the Institute of Marine Research, Norway (IMR) joined hands to continue their cooperation in fisheries research in Sri Lankan waters.

The signature event in this regard was held on Tuesday. The two institutions will engage in research on fish stocks in the waters of Sri Lanka, with the aim of improved and sustainable management of marine resources in the country.

Norway’s financial assistance enabled an ecosystem survey in the coastal waters of Sri Lanka by the Norwegian Research Vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen in Sri Lanka in 2018. After the successful completion of the first phase of the project, the Norwegian Embassy was pleased to approve the second phase of the project for development of fisheries management tools at a cost of close to NOK 8.75mn (approx.1 Million USD), which will be operational until 2022.

Speaking at the event, Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Trine Jøranli Eskedal, underscored that Norway is “committed to bilateral cooperation on oceans and to helping Sri Lanka put in place data-based management systems for ocean resources, which will enable Sri Lanka to better monitor its fish stocks.” She added that the Norwegian fisheries cooperation with Sri Lanka, which dates back to the 1970s, includes fisheries management, research and education, and private sector development. From 2013 to 2020, NOK 20.3 mill. (approx. 2.4 mill. USD) have been disbursed to the fisheries sector.

Ambassador Eskedal also highlighted the importance of sharing these research findings with other Sri Lankan stakeholders, both in the public and private sector, to make informed decisions related to oceans and fisheries and to bringing in new and advanced technology to Sri Lanka’s fisheries sector. She also reiterated the importance of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) – to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources, and the importance of the fisheries sector to advance more sustainable economic growth in Sri Lanka.

Speaking at the event, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda, mentioned that the Government of Sri Lanka is looking for renewed opportunities to strengthen the fisheries sector.

“Research projects of this nature are an opportunity for our Sri Lankan fishermen and for the sector as a whole. Sri Lanka and Norway have a longstanding bilateral relationship within the fisheries sector and wish to ensure the livelihoods of fishermen and the local economy,” he stressed.

The Minister added that Sri Lanka is an island nation blessed with abundant marine resources. It is the government’s mandate to sustain such resources, while bringing in research-based advanced technology to boost the sector. The Minister also thanked the Government of Norway for its continued support during these unprecedented times.

State Minister of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish and Prawn Farming Kanchana Wijesekera mentioned that the Government’s strategy for enhancing the marine fisheries sector in Sri Lanka aims at developing and managing the sector in a successful way using scientific evidence and modern technology. “To obtain science-based recommendations for managing the fisheries, capacity building of Sri Lankan scientists is essential,” the State Minister underscored.

NARA Chairman Prof. Navaratnarajah underscored the importance of this cooperation: “The technical assistance from IMR scientists provides immense support to develop the capacity of Sri Lankan scientists, while enabling the collection of proper marine data in a scientific manner.”

He also added that Norway’s support to the fisheries sector in the past was remarkable, and that NARA, with the guidance of the Ministry of Fisheries of Sri Lanka and its sister organisations, hopes to continue the bilateral relationships while strengthening the technical cooperation with IMR in the future.