- No country has cancelled orders from Sri Lanka
- Affected sea area is minimal
Sri Lanka’s fish exports are not and certainly will not be affected due to the marine pollution that has been caused by the debris from the MV X-Press Pearl, The Morning Business learns.
Speaking to us, State Ministry of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish, and Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multi-Day Fishing Activities, and Fish Exports Secretary Jayantha Chandrasoma said that the coastal fisheries area that has been affected because of the burning ship is a limited ocean area and cannot be expected to affect fishing exports overall.
Secretary Chandrasoma said that he did not come across any country that made alterations or cancelled fish stock exports so far as a result of the ship incident.
Further explaining his statement on the impact of fishing exports, Chandrasoma noted that the amount of nitric acid that has been released to the ocean would not affect the ocean water.
“It won’t affect the pH value,” he said, implying that in comparison to the magnanimity of the ocean, the relatively smaller quantity of acid will not affect it to the extent where sea water becomes acidic.
“The only problem is plastic,” he said, referring to the plastic pellets that have polluted both the ocean and the coast. Although rescue workers are being employed to collect them, the plastic will have a long-term impact on the marine environment.
Chandrasoma emphasised that the affected area is a limited area compared to the ocean around the country and fish farming can be continued within the unaffected area. Moreover, deep sea fishing is the main source of fish exports and it can be continued in normal conditions, he said. Thus, the fish exports will not be affected, Chandrasoma said.
The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), the apex body established by the Government in order to prevent, control, and manage the pollution of Sri Lanka’s marine environment, and the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) are conducting examinations and testing on the extent of pollution, the State Ministry Secretary said.
“The only consolation is there is no oil spill so far,” he said, indicating that such an incident may cause magnanimous marine pollution.
The fishing activities in the affected sea of the Negombo Lagoon, Negombo Beach, and Colombo Beach are temporarily suspended until the investigations are completed.
The MV X-Press Ship is a container ship that is sailing under the flag of Singapore. The ship caught fire at the Colombo anchorage and later suffered an explosion. It was carrying about 25 tonnes of acid among the 1,485 containers onboard.
According to the exclusive revelation of Splash 24/7, the global maritime, shipping, and offshore news provider, X-Press Feeders Executive Chairman Tim Hartnoll said that on detection of the acid leak, the Captain had requested to offload the containers to Hazira Port of the West Coast of India and Hamad in Qatar. Upon the denial from both ports, the ship made its way to Sri Lanka.