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Local multi-day trawlers in fishy situation 

a year ago

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  • Slam vessel monitoring system tax of Rs. 4,500 a month, Rs. 54,000 per annum  
By Dinitha Rathnayake Local multi-day fishing boat owners face a new threat due to the requirement of the vessel monitoring system (VMS) tax and the selected provision of an international fishing certificate, according to the All-Island Fisheries Association. Speaking to The Morning, the All-Island Fisheries Association Convenor Rathna Gamage said that the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has provided a VMS system that indicates the location of the boat. “This system however was not provided for the sake of the benefit of multi-day fishing boat owners. This was only to obtain fines and a tax from the fishermen.” According to him, the Government had charged a tax of Rs. 3,000 from 1,500 boats, every month, five years ago. “It was not to monitor or provide security for fishermen. The Government only provided this system if these fishing boats attempted to cross borders. This was a death trap for them,” said Gamage, adding that this system was however inactive for a certain period since then. Meanwhile, the Government has again imported 4,500 VMSs, where they charge Rs. 4,500 per month as a tax from these multi-day fishing boats. “These boats have to pay Rs. 54,000 per year as taxes,” noted Gamage. Gamage further alleged that the Ministry is engaged in another fraud by providing an international certificate which allows fishing internationally only for 2,000 boats. Attempts to reach officials representing the Ministry were not successful.

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