Cablegate: 2003 Shrimp/Turtle Certifications Under

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O 12958: N/A
SECTION 609 of P.L 101-162 - SRI LANKA

REF: STATE 54094

1. Summary: This cable responds to reftel request
regarding Sri Lanka's sea turtle conservation program,
and is based on information from the Ministry of
Fisheries and Ocean Resources (MOFOR). According to
the MOFOR submission, Sri Lanka's fishing industry
continues to use fishing methods that do not harm sea
turtles. End Summary.

Wild harvested shrimp fishery

2. Sri Lanka's shrimp trawling grounds are located in
the North, Northeast and Northwest. The Government of
Sri Lanka (GSL) has not issued any licenses for
mechanized trawling in these areas. MOFOR states that
in the event mechanized shrimp trawling is allowed,
Government will impose regulations requiring use of
turtle excluder devices (TEDS) in mechanized trawlers.

3. There are three types of shrimp fisheries in Sri
Lanka. One uses small trawls that do not have otter
doors. The boats used in this fishery are non-
mechanized and propelled by sails. They trawl within
about one mile from shore, where the depth of the sea
is less than 12 meters. Four fishermen go in each
boat, and the trawl is towed manually. Presently,
over 150 boats are engaged in this type of fishery,
which is practiced mostly in Negombo, in the western
part of the country.

4. The second fishery uses trawls using 3.5 ton, 9-
meter boats powered by 30-horsepower (HP) inboard
engines. The trawl is towed manually, usually by four
to five fishermen. The time taken to haul the trawl
is less than one hour. Presently there are about 60
such boats. This fishery is practiced in Wattala and
Kalpitiya, in the western coastal belt.

5. The third fishery type uses cast netting (throw
netting) in lagoons. In this type of fishery, usually
two fishermen go in small boats powered with an out-
board motor and throw a cone-shaped net that has
circular sinkers at the bottom and a cord connected to
the apex. The net surrounds the fish and shrimp, and
sinks to the bottom, and is retrieved by pulling the
cord. Due to the weight of the sinkers, the mouth of
the net keeps closed and therefore the fish and shrimp
inside cannot escape. Mostly subsistence or part-time
fishermen practice this fishery.

6. According to the MOFOR, none of the above
fisheries are harmful to sea turtles. In 2002, the
total shrimp catch was estimate at 5,500 tons. Over
70 percent of it came from aquaculture.

Sea turtle protection program

7. GSL continues to conserve sea turtles. Sea
turtles are protected under provisions of the Fauna
and Flora Protection Ordinance.

8. The above information describing Sri Lanka's wild
harvested shrimp fishery methods was received at
embassy Colombo from MOFAR, and dated March 12, 2003.


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