Resource Mobilization

Enhancing Capacity to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in Sri Lanka

In October 2014, the European Commission identified Sri Lanka as a non-cooperating third country, on the basis that it was not taking sufficient action to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing; and imposed a ban on the import of raw and processed fish to the European Union (EU). The ban was lifted in the first half of 2016, in recognition of the efforts made by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the challenges. However, the Government was still in need of technical assistance to review, consolidate and update the relevant legal framework; as well as training and other capacity development to the involved bodies and entities on fishing vessel inspection and the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MSC) of fishing vessels, in order to effectively combat IUU fishing.

What did the project do

The key achievements of the project included the training of 311 stakeholders on legal aspects of IUU fishing; as well as the provision of training courses on technical aspects of IUU fishing, compliance with major treaties and agreements, vessel monitoring and basic nautical knowledge awareness. In addition, a review of fisheries and related legislation in Sri Lanka was carried out; as well as an economic analysis of MCS systems and tools to guide the policy development process. As a result of the project interventions, the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ (DFAR) capacity to deliver future Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) training for stakeholders was significantly strengthened.


The project contributed to increasing the capacity of the Government of Sri Lanka and the main stakeholders to govern the fisheries sector in a manner that effectively deterred, combated and eliminated IUU fishing. The project also contributed to enhancing the access of fish and fisheries products of Sri Lanka to overseas markets, therefore increasing income generating opportunities for stakeholders in the sector. In addition, as a result of more sustainable management of marine aquatic resources, the livelihoods of people who depend on them will be protected.


  • Three types of training sessions delivered on PSMA, Basic Nautical Knowledge and Seagoing Observer in three locations (Wattala, Galle and Trincomalee) for a total of 63 beneficiaries, including DFAR senior officers, development officers, fishery inspectors, navy officers and coast guards.
  • Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act consolidated and reviewed; and gaps in the legislation identified in a report and submitted to the Government of Sri Lanka for consideration.
  • Training programmes organized on introduction to the international law framework to combat IUU fishing, legal training for senior officers at the DFAR, and authorized officer training; as well as a course for judges on IUU fishing, which included a practical session organized by Sri Lanka Navy, demonstrating IUU fishing activities in the sea.
  • Nineteen officers trained on Vessel Monitoring System and electronic reporting.
  • Policy and economic analysis conducted, which was validated through a consultative process. The validated information was used to develop a report on a cost-benefit analysis of the MCS system and tools developed by Sri Lanka, which was published as a joint FAO-Government publication.
  • Two awareness-raising films, one for the international community and one for the local general public produced, as well as a three-minute video clip for FAO.
Project symbol: TCP/SRL/3603
Project title: Capacity Building to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU fishing)
Contact: FAO Office in Sri Lanka