Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources

Press Releases

Sri Lanka’s first ever ‘eco-recommended’ fisheries to be announced by Hon. P. Harrison Minister of Agriculture, Rural Economic Affairs, Livestock Development, Irrigation and Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development

On Monday, January 14, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program – North America’s leading seafood ratings organisations – will release new global recommendations for amberjack, carp, crab, smelt and trout and updated recommendations for crab and lobster at the Global Seafood Market conference in San Diego. For the first time ever two Sri Lankan fisheries will recommended to consumers, retailers and the global seafood industry as a Good Alternative by the Seafood Watch® program. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program helps consumers and businesses to choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean, now and for future generations (

Niche markets for eco-recommended seafood are well established in North America, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand. Environmentally conscious consumers in these countries are willing to pay more for seafood products that are harvested from sustainably managed stocks; and from fisheries that don’t harm other marine creatures or destroy the marine environment. International marine conservation agencies like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the international seafood industry have joined forces to use premium prices for eco-recommended seafood, to drive a global movement for sustainably managed wild caught and farmed fish. Sri Lanka has now joined this elite global initiative, affirming the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Economic Affairs, Livestock Development, Irrigation and Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development’s commitment to the sustainable management of Sri Lanka’s fisheries resources. The blue swimming crab (Portunus pelagicus) fisheries in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar are the first fisheries in Sri Lanka and the only blue swimming crab fisheries in South and South East Asia to be recommended by Seafood Watch®.

Following next Monday’s announcement Sri Lanka’s leading seafood exporters led by the Seafood Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka (SEASL), will gain immediate access to premium markets for eco-recommended crab products in the US, EU and Australasia. Increased revenues from the sale of Sri Lankan crab products to top-end markets for eco-recommended seafood will increase the value of Sri Lanka’s seafood exports (US$ 190 million in 2018) and the sector’s contribution to Sri Lanka’s economic development (2.7% of GDP in 2017). The increased value of Sri Lankan crab products will also safeguard the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Sri Lankan fishermen and their families who depend on these blue swimming crab fisheries for their daily income, in the North and Northwestern Provinces. . Members of the SEASL will contribute a percentage of the increased value of eco-recommended Sri Lankan blue swimming crab products, to support the sustainable management of the two fisheries.

Today is a proud moment for the ministry, the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the agencies and authorities under the ministry that have contributed to this achievement. The Hon. Minister wishes to thank all those who have contributed towards delivering the first ‘eco-recommendation’ for a Sri Lankan fishery. The Hon. Minister will extend his fullest support to the seafood industry, to researchers and to fishing communities to achieve more ‘eco-recommendation’ for more Sri Lankan fisheries, in the future.