The minister had issued instructions for the setting up of this unit to the National Aquatic Development Authority Chairman and Director General.
Around 12,000 large scale, medium scale and small scale tanks exist throughout the country in the freshwater fishing industry providing employment to around 40,000.
Each year the National Aquatic Resources Development Authority release hundreds of thousands of fishlings into these tanks. Last year alone 110 million fishlings were released into these tanks. The fresh water fish harvest in 2018 was around 86,000 metric tons.
However, due to the use of illegal fishing methods the harvest had dropped drastically. While these fish grow to around 1 ½ kg due to the premature harvesting by illegal fishermen, even fish weighing as little as 200g are being harvested. Due to this illegal fishing, a large stock of fish is harvested affecting the fish stocks.
Therefore, Minister Wedarachchi had taken steps to establish this special team to look into these issues and take measures to prevent such illegal activities which could have a detrimental impact on the fresh water fishing industry.
The minister also noted that in order to carry out these raids more effectively and legitimately, the assistance of the police and the STF would be obtained and all those arrested for engaging in illegal fishing activities would be brought before the law and punished.