When the development cooperation between Norway and Sri Lanka started 50 years ago – it was within fisheries. This new era of fishery cooperation was initiated following Foreign Minister Brende’s visit to Sri Lanka in January 2016, and “anchored” at the highest level when Prime Minister Solberg met President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe in Colombo in August 2016.
The cooperation has three main areas;
- Advice on how to commercialize aquaculture (aquafarming) in Sri Lanka.
- Stock assessment (mapping of fish stocks) of the Sri Lankan coast, and analysis of the data. This will be conducted by the new Norwegian research vessel Dr. Fridtjof Nansen and a Sri Lankan vessel. The cooperation is between National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) and Institute for Marine Resources in Norway (Havforskningsinstitutet).
- Assistance to develop a new fishery policy for Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries of Norway will assist the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Sri Lanka.
Norway also support two other projects within fisheries, through ILO and UNDP.
Through these projects, several hundred families who were displaced for more than 25 years have been assisted to restart their lives as fishermen when they returned to their homes. Fishery families also get assistance on organization in cooperatives, technical advice, quality, certification and sale through exporters.