According to government and FAO estimates, 54 percent of the total fishing fleet was either made un-seaworthy or was totally destroyed by the tsunami.
The UN agency, which works through government-owned boat building and fishery supply company Cey-Nor Foundation Ltd, mobilized resources from a number of international donors to fund this important activity.
"FAO is supporting Cey-Nor through the provision of tools, boat repair materials and payment of labour charges" said FAO Emergency and Rehabilitation Coordinator Ms Mona Chaya. "The aim of the activity is to ensure that fishers in all affected districts are allowed to resume their livelihoods as quickly as possible."
Close to 5 000 fishers were killed by the tsunami waves in Sri Lanka whilst tens of thousands of others saw their houses destroyed and their means of earning a living - their boats and nets- washed away.
Through its partnership with the government and Cey-Nor, FAO has already repaired 3 415 fishing boats in Sri Lanka and has supplied 75 percent of the funds and raw materials made available to Cey-Nor. FAO is also funding the repair of inboard engines and outboard motors. To date, 212 inboard engines and 658 outboard motors have already been repaired by Cey-Nor using FAO funds.
FAO is the UN's lead agency for the rehabilitation of the fisheries sector. Whilst FAO and the Sri Lankan government's immediate priority following the tsunami disaster has been to get the fishers fishing again as soon as possible, the longer-term strategy is to improve the sector as a whole with a view to raising the incomes of coastal communities.
For more information contact Mona Chaya, FAO Emergency and Rehabilitation Coordinator in Sri Lanka tel: 0773187360 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org