Colombo, Sri Lanka, 22 Jul 2011 -- Over 150 small-scale fishers in Sri Lanka’s Puttalam district will benefit from safety equipment distributed by the FAO Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia, (RFLP), an initiative funded by the Kingdom of Spain.
The equipment - which includes GPS systems, life rings, first aid kits, life jackets and VHF radios - was handed over to fishers at a ceremony held today at the Coastal Environmental Centre in Kandakuliya, Puttalam district.
Taking part in the event were representatives of District Fisheries Office of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Sri Lankan navy and police, and FAO.
Jose Parajua, Regional Programme Manager of RFLP said, “Small-scale fishers in Sri Lanka face considerable risk on a daily basis. This equipment will save lives, reducing the vulnerability of fishers and their families alike.”
In addition to providing safety equipment, the FAO RFLP programme also delivered a comprehensive series of training sessions for over 800 small-scale fishers on topics including first aid, survival at sea, safe diving, fire fighting and out-board engine repair.
“By providing training to those who can then train others, a significant contribution is made to the safety of fishers in Sri Lanka,” Mr Parajua said.
RFLP is currently operational in the fisheries districts of Negombo, Chilaw and Puttalam and is implemented by the FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development.
The Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) sets out to strengthen capacity among participating small-scale fishing communities and their supporting institutions in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam. By doing so the RFLP seeks to improve the livelihoods of fishers and their families while fostering more sustainable fisheries resources management practices.