REM Independent Monitoring in Sri Lanka

Scoping mission Independent Monitoring of Fisheries Law Enforcement and Governance

In 2012, REM and Rainforest Rescue International (RRI) carried out a scoping mission aiming to encourage good governance in the fisheries sector in Sri Lanka, with a special focus on tuna fisheries.

Fisheries in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a small island nation located in the Indian Ocean with 1730 km of shoreline with a growing population of 24 million. In the past 30 years the island has had a depressed fisheries sector, which was affected by the ongoing civil war in the North and East of the country. The ending of the civil war has led to calls for enhanced fisheries in the country. Coastal Sri Lanka has a total fishing households of 139,630 with nearly 700,000 people dependent upon the fisheries sector (Statistical Unit, MFAR, 2009). The fisheries sector is now regarded as an important protein supplier to the population of Sri Lanka. However, ever increasing international demand for fish and marine products has resulted in more fisheries activities for export trade taking place in recent years.

REM pilot monitoring results in Sri Lanka

This project was designed to assess and develop the role of civil society. Over the 18 months of the project, RRI and REM worked together to build an independent monitoring model that could make a real progress towards the following objective.


To make progress in three areas of fisheries sector, towards the sustainable development of the national fisheries industry:

  1. Management - to improve consistency and coordination within selected areas of fisheries policy and law, including at the provincial level.
  2. IUU fishing in Sri Lankan waters - to help create a better monitor and report system on IUU fishing by foreign vessels in Sri Lankan Waters.
  3. IUU fishing outside Sri Lankan water - to better inform fishers of international obligations and support mechanisms of control.


The Ministry of fisheries: information is forwarded to the Central Ministry via the provincial Ministry, informing it of the results of the reading committee meetings, highlighting enforcement actions that have been taken at the Provincial level by the administration and others. The rapporteur also communicates suggested enforcement and policy actions to the central government. Data generated by the monitoring operations can be used by research and management bodies such as NARA.

The Provincial Ministry of Fisheries: support is provided to the Provincial Ministry to establish a forum for a range of stakeholders to meet and discuss IUU fishing activities that have been identified through the monitoring initiatives mentioned below. The forum includes representatives of the provincial administration. The forum, sometimes called a Reading Committee, can meet once every 2 months and receive and provide information on fisheries enforcement to all stakeholders. This activity is provided in a broader context of a support programme to help selected provinces develop a provincial level fisheries policy, as previewed in the 1996 Act

The Fisheries cooperatives, coastal zone: awareness raising of the laws regulating coastal zone fishing and establishing systematic reporting mechanisms of fishing activity, including dynamite and moxi net fishing etc. Develop concepts of management and interactions between coastal and off shore fishing.

Rainforest Rescue International : the role of RRI in the project is to create the project structure in country and take the lead in finding funding, bring the actors together and facilitate the process of project implementation. This includes exploring further the potential to work with the Marine Stewardship Council and supporting organisations in Sri Lanka. Promoting best practice in the sector and supporting sustainable economic growth.

Fisheries sectors in Northern Indian Ocean countries: India, Maldives, Seychelles, Bangladesh and Pakistan

Project findings:

Sri Lankan civil society and IM-FiLEG
IM-FiLEG REM investigation report 2012
Strengthening Sri Lanka fisheries policy and management
Letter from the Minister on IMFiLEG
REM presentation from monitoring forests to fisheries
Sri Lanka National Fisheries Policy Review

The content of this site concerning this project is the sole responsibility of REM and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of DfID.
This project was funded by the DFID Civil Society Challenge Fund for Sri Lanka.