* Sri Lanka President inaugurates aquaculture conference in Colombo

July 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa today inaugurated the first ever Asia Pacific Regional Ministerial Meeting on Aquaculture for Food Security, Nutrition and Economic Development at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo.

Delivering the keynote address at the meeting, the President said the commitment of the Asian political leadership and adequate resources are both essential to collectively overcome the challenges faced by fisheries and aquaculture at present in the region and to sustain an expanded regional initiative.

The President remarked that the region is not lacking the political leadership and commitment but it needs to provide the means and resources for regional associations to become stronger and suggested to establish a Common Regional Fund that will in the future become a Common Global Fund for responsible aquaculture.

Noting that many issues of international politics and governance affect aquaculture and fisheries, the President said product marketing in compliance with various international trading standards is a serious problem to developing countries and to the small scale fish farmers who produce the most of Asia’s aquaculture output and the situation needs to be addressed politically.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) have organized the two-day ministerial meeting in association with the Sri Lankan government.

Ministers of Fisheries or their representatives from 18 countries participate in the meeting with around 250 representatives from major banks, the European Union, donor agencies and representatives from on-going major regional project managers on fisheries and aquaculture.

Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Aquatic Resources Development, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Deputy Minister, Susantha Punchinilame and representatives of FAO also participated in the event.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

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