Colombo, Aug 22 (IANS) Sri Lanka's cash-strapped government is turning to Chinese and Japanese companies to boost its fishing industry.
Currently, Sri Lanka earns around $250 million annually from fish exports. Last year, Sri Lanka captured 486,000 metric tonnes of fish, according to government records.
The Sri Lankan government has targeted $500 million in revenue for 2013, Xinhua reported quoting Rajitha Senaratne, Sri Lanks's fisheries and aquatic resources minister.
Senaratne said agreements have been finalised with two companies from China and Japan to increase deep sea fishing, which has seen slow growth due to lack of equipment.
Currently, Sri Lanka only has around 300 deep sea fishing vessels and these are only capable of catching 10-20 metric tons of fish at a time.
"Four deep sea fishing boats from China have arrived in Sri Lanka. Eventually, we hope the number will increase to around 20 and we are having discussions with other Chinese companies to enter the market as well," Senaratne said.
Japan's leading fish producer, Kiyomura Corporation, has also started a company in Sri Lanka, the minister said.
Both companies will be registered in Sri Lanka and will operate under the Sri Lankan flag.