MV X-Press Pearl disaster: Fishing permitted again in Negombo Lagoon 

  • Area around wreck to remain no fishing zone 

  • Douglas blames public attitude on fish consumption related fears 

  • Says fish in markets from other fishing zones 

By Yumiko Perera


Fishing activities in the Negombo Lagoon, which had been specified as a no-fishing zone in the wake of the MV X-Press Pearl disaster, have been allowed to recommence as of yesterday (12), according to the Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish, and Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multi-Day Fishing Activities, and Fish Exports State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, The Sunday Morning learnt. 

Emergency preventive measures had been put in place to protect the Negombo Lagoon and the surrounding areas in order to contain the damage that could be caused by debris and in case of a potential oil spill from the MV X-Press Pearl wreck. 

Speaking with The Sunday Morning, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said: “Studies have commenced in this regard and data is still being collected, and so far, it is difficult to come to any conclusions given that the available data is insufficient. It is hard to say as to when fishing would be permitted in the waters in the vicinity of the wreck of the vessel and so far, that area is still considered a no fishing zone.” 

In reply to The Sunday Morning’s query with regard to the public’s scepticism on consuming fish post-MV X-Press Pearl disaster, Minister Devananda noted: “It’s the mindset of the people that seems to be the problem. Scientific research is being conducted on the matter; however, the fish that arrive in the markets are from other parts of the island.” 

Reiterating that the fishing ban had been imposed for a reason, Minister Devananda added that he would be making a statement in this regard soon. 

Several attempts made by The Sunday Morning to contact State Minister Wijesekera for further insight on how things would commence henceforth, proved futile.