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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2019)

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    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefPrepared: May 2019

    Sri Lanka has traditionally relied on fish as an important element of animal protein supply to its population. Apparent per capita fish consumption was estimated to be 31.4 kg/year in 2016. The sector is also a large provider of employment, not only in fishing but also in processing, distribution and trade, as well as boat-building and maintenance. In 2017, 22 898 people were employed in aquaculture with 6 percent of the workforce made up by women. 269 694 people (7 percent women) were employed across fisheries. The marine fishing fleet in 2016 was composed of 19 764 non-motorized vessels and 30 903 motorized vessels, mostly small vessels less than 12 m. Around 2 000 boats operated in offshore fishing.

    Marine fisheries production reached about 422600 tonnes in 2017, exceeding the catch levels prior to the destructive tsunami of December 2004. Since the end of war in May 2009, the Northern and Eastern provinces are now fully under government control and the coastal and offshore fishing has commenced. The fish production is increasing, and employment has been created. The Presidential development programme “Spring of the North” aimed at rehabilitating the war-torn areas, fisheries and aquaculture received high priority. Fishing is mainly undertaken by small-scale operators in near-shore waters. A successful offshore fleet has developed and exploits tuna stocks in many parts of the Indian Ocean.

    Inland capture fisheries production was about 81900 tonnes in 2017, mainly from water bodies also designed to improve water supplies for the local population and agriculture.

    Aquaculture production was about 28000 tonnes in 2017, more than tripled from the 2011-2012 average level. Freshwater finfish aquaculture, mainly carps and tilapia, accounted for 82 percent of the total aquaculture production and 16 percent came from marine shrimp farming.

    Exports of marine products (shrimp, tuna, ornamental fish, etc.) have developed into one of the fastest growing sub-sectors. In 2017, total exports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 256 million. In the same year, fishery imports were worth USD 229 million.

    Critical issues include overfishing of near shore resources, erosion and environmental degradation of coastal areas and inshore waters as a result of industrial development, expanding shrimp culture, agricultural run-off and tourism. Apart from shrimp farming, very little commercial-scale aquaculture, both freshwater and brackish/marine water is practiced in Sri Lanka although the conditions for developing commercial aquaculture are optimal.

    Furthermore, inclusion of sustainable aquaculture, inland fisheries and marine fisheries into post-conflict rehabilitation efforts of the government is critical and the environment for successful inclusion of these sectors is conducive.
    General geographic and economic indicators

    Key statistics

    Country area65 610km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Land area62 710km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Inland water area2 900km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.22.234millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2019
    Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area535 853km2VLIZ

    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statistics

    Updated 2019The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_LK.pdf

    Additional information

    Meetings & News archive


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