PROFILE OF DR. RAJITHA SENARATNE HON. MINISTER OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT OF SRI LANKA
Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, born on 29th May 1950, graduated from the
then University of Ceylon as a Dental Surgeon in 1974. He was a Student Leader
and was the General Secretary of the Inter-University Students Federation from
1971 to 1973. He represented the then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in the
Sri Lanka Delegation to the Asian Youth Conference 1973 held in Japan.
Dr. Senaratne held the position of the Hon. Secretary of the Government Dental
Surgeons Association for 14 years continuously from 1975 to 1989 and was a popular
trade union activist. He was awarded the Fellowship of the International
College of Continuing Dental Education (F.I.C.C.D.E.) in 1992.
Dr. Senaratne represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Inter-Parliamentarians
Conference on HIV/ AIDS, Goa in India since its inception in 2008. He has also
represented Sri Lanka at the International Medical Parliamentarians'
Conference, held in Bangkok in the years of 1995 and 1997.
As a Member of Parliament continuously for 16 years from 1994 to date, he
has held many portfolios: the Minister of Lands (2001-2004); the Minister of
Construction and Engineering Services (2007 to 2010) and the Minister of
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development from April, 2010 to date. As a
Member of Parliament, he has represented both the Government and the
Opposition. Dr. Senaratne's oratory skills are well known.
As the Minister of Construction and Engineering Services (2007 to 2010) he was
instrumental in the formulation of the "National Construction
Policy". Dr. Senaratne also initiated the project on desalination of sea
sand for construction under the Hungarian Tied Aid program. During his tenure,
Sri Lanka entered the overseas construction projects. He was also the
architect of the "One Hundred Thousand Housing Project".
As the Minister of Lands, Dr. Senaratne was responsible in formulating
"The National policy for Land in Sri Lanka" and the introduction of
an efficient, transparent land registration and titling system. The Land Data
bank he established facilitated the issue of 1.3 million ownership deeds to those
occupying state land.
Dr. Senaratne assumed duties as the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Development in April 2010. Soon after assuming office he embarked on a
programme to increase national fish production from 380,000 Mt to nearly
600,000 Mt by 2013, laying much emphasis on developing the fishing industry in
the North and East where the industry has been severely affected due to
terrorism for over 30 years.
Fisheries infrastructure development has become one of the key areas in the
National Fisheries Development Plan and included the construction of 11 fishery
harbours in the North and the East and upgrading of many harbours in other
parts of the island.
Dr. Senaratne strongly believes in sustainable utilization and management of
our resources. This is exemplified by his strong initiatives to eradicate
Illegal, Unreported and Unregistered (IUU) fishing through both national and
international initiatives. One such move is the planned introduction of Vessel
Monitoring System to all multiday boats in Sir Lanka. This will also strengthen
safety at sea and fisheries communication.
At international level he has strengthened country's rapport with the regional
fisheries management organization, Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). In fact
credit goes to Dr Senaratne for hosting the most successful and best attended
IOTC sessions in Sri Lanka from 17th to 25th March 2011 with the participation
of 25 countries. His dynamic, development oriented programmes have caught the
attention of many countries and international organizations. His thought
provoking key note address to the 11th INFOFISH world Tuna Trade Conference in
Bangkok in September 2010 was given wide publicity in the world media.
Dr. Senaratne is married to Dr. Mrs. Sujatha Senaratne, who herself is a
Dental Surgeon and the former Deputy Director General, National Hospital, Colombo, and the Additional Secretary Public Health, Ministry of Health, Colombo. They are blessed with two sons, the elder a medical Student and the other an Aerospace Engineering student at University of Kent, UK.
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