COLOMBO, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan government is offering the island's fisheries harbors to foreign vessels from Asian countries, including China, in a bid to prevent European countries from exploiting fishing resources in the Indian Ocean, an official said here on Tuesday.
Under the plan, fishing vessels from China, Dubai, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam will be invited to engage in fishing in the international waters in the Indian Ocean and export their products via the fisheries harbours in Sri Lanka, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.
About 20 Chinese and eight Japanese fishing vessels have already been offered the facility while talks are underway with Dubai to offer these facilities, local media reported.
Discussions with other countries will follow, the minister told reporters.
"They will be operating under the Sri Lankan flag and will process the fish for exports in local harbours. Sri Lanka will benefit by imposing port charges and export taxes," he explained.
The minister said that at present 48 per cent of the fishing resources in the Indian Ocean was exploited by non-Asian countries, mainly European Union member countries.
He said these fishing vessels were known to net about 900 tons of fish and were well equipped while the Sri Lanka fishing vessels had a capacity to net only about 50 tons.
New fishing deals with foreign countries would be on a joint venture basis.
Proposals are also underway for foreign fishing companies to buy fish directly from local fishermen.
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