The district administration has invited applications from interested coastal fishermen in the district to avail 50 per cent subsidy for building Tuna longliners, each costing about Rs.60 lakh.

In a press release, Collector K. Nanthakumar said the fishermen could apply in groups of not more than six each, through the fisheries cooperative societies or individually to avail themselves of the 50 per cent subsidy – Rs.30 lakh.

They could get the subsidy for constructing a new Tuna longliner or reconstructing or altering the existing trawlers into longliners, he said, adding the applicants should be full-time fishermen, holding individual ration cards and bio-metric identity cards issued by the Fisheries Department.

Those applying for the subsidy should not have got the subsidy given by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) for the purpose. Priority would be given on a first come, first served basis to those who wished to convert their trawlers into longliners, he said.

Fishermen could get the applications from the offices of the Assistant Directors and Deputy Directors of Fisheries Department at the Collectorate complex or download them from the, the Collector said.

Official sources said the scheme was announced by the government exclusively for fishermen in the Palk Bay region.

While 60 per cent of the subsidy amount was earmarked for fishermen in the Palk Bay region, 40 per cent was earmarked for fishermen in non-Palk Bay region in the district to persuade them to take up deep-sea tuna fishing and avoid getting arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.