RFLP of FAO strengthens Chilaw fisher community
By Harsha Udayakantha Peiris
Distribution of safety equipment provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and South East Asia (RFLP) to more than 200 small-scale fishers in the Chilaw Fisheries District took place on 10 October at the Sudasuna Hall in Chilaw with the initiative of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dr. Rajitha Senarathne.
|Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dr. Rajitha Senarathne distributing safety equipment to the fishers in Chilaw while Patrick Evans — the FAO representative in Sri Lanka (left) looks on|
The equipment included GPS systems, life rings, first aid kits, life jackets and VHF radios to enhance the safety of the fishermen. Prior to the distribution, the fishermen also participated in a comprehensive series of training sessions on topics including first aid, survival at sea, safe diving, fire fighting and out-board engine repair.
Expressing views at the occasion, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dr. Rajitha Senarathne said that ensuring safety at sea would uplift the social image of fishermen. He also urged the fisher community to wear safety gears such as the life jackets and to use the other equipment and modern technology to ensure safety and efficiency of the industry for higher productivity.
FAO representative in Sri Lanka Patrick Evans expressing views at the distribution, stated that the trained fishermen could now use the safety equipment more effectively at sea and also teach their family members and friends how to use them accurately. In addition to training fishers in safety related areas, RFLP has actively ensured that women were fully involved in the sessions.
RFLP Regional Programme Manger Jose Parajua said at the event that although women were not going out to sea, involving them in training activities helped to ensure all members of the household to understand how to make fishing a safer industry. “As a result we hope to see fishers and boats properly equipped on every trip and for safety equipment to be valued and used correctly,” he added
RFLP in Sri Lanka is currently implemented in the fisheries districts of Negombo, Chilaw and Puttalam. Recently, RFLP distributed safety equipment to fishers in Puttalam district.
RFLP is funded by the Kingdom of Spain and implemented by the FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development.
The programme in the South and South East Asia has set out to strengthen capacity among participating small-scale fishing communities and their supporting institutions in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Vietnam seeking to improve the livelihoods of fishers and their families while fostering more sustainable fisheries resources management practices.