Making a significant contribution towards rebuilding the Eastern province fisheries sector, the Oluvil Fisheries Port, (Ashraff Memorial Oluvil Port’) which was defunct for over a decade in a state of stagnation was opened last week by Fishing Minister Douglas Devanenda and TESS Pvt.Ltd Managing Director Shiran Fernando.
One of the main reasons for the closure of the Oluvil Fisheries Port was that sand dunes kept accumulating at the mouth of the harbour making vessels inaccessible and TESS together with the Minister of Fisheries invested several million to correct this using dredgers and reopen the harbour Fernando said.
An official from the harbour said that credit for the reopening should go to Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda, Fisheries Ministry Secretary Indu Ratnayake and TESS for quickly taking the necessary administrative and construction measures to assist in opening the harbour again.
“In addition to fish processing, small boat construction, repair, initiatives too would be undertaken by the SME sector opening up new livelihoods for the people.
In addition, the harbour also will soon be able to accommodate yachts helping to introduce tourism to the area. “While helping to increase fish supply to Sri Lanka the opening of the Port will also once again restore thousands of employment opportunities in the fisheries sector that was stalled due to the closure of the Port.”
He also said the East Fisheries sector offers uninterrupted fishing and the Port can be the game changer to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in fish.
He said that Oluvil is strategically positioned in an important geographical location in the Eastern province. “There is no harbour within about five hours of sail time and in a storm or any other emergency, Oluvil Port can play a major role.
The harbour was constructed by the Danish Construction Company MT Højgaard and was opened by then President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2008 as a part of the ‘Nagenahira Navodaya’ Development Program. It was a Rs. 1.6 billion Danish-funded project.