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Sri Lanka Enters Fish Farming in the Sea

05 July 2013

SRI LANKA - The Board of Investment has approved a project for the establishment of oceanic finfish farms. The project will set up its farms in the open sea off the Trincomalee coast, the first such cage system to be set up in the country, and the project plans to harvest 1,000 tons of fish over the next several years.

At present Sri Lanka obtain its fish harvest through wild catch methods in the sea and this has a risk of depleting the stocks beyond sustainable levels in the longer run.

The agreement for the project has been signed by Oceanpick Founder and Director Irfan Thassim and Board of Investment of Sri Lanka Chairman Dr Lakshman Jayaweera in the presence of the Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene.

As per FAO statistics, nearly 50 per cent of fish production worldwide comes from farmed sources, whereas Sri Lanka lags far behind in reaching a sustainable equilibrium and relies 90 per cent or more on wild capture.

Partnered by a Scottish farming company that pioneered oceanic farming in the North Atlantic some 40 years ago producing salmon, rainbow trout and halibut, Oceanpick plans to operate Trinco farms as per the same world class standards of their partners.

Up to now Sri Lanka’s aquaculture have been mostly been concentrated in brackish water lagoons, fresh water bodies or in land based ponds. The new venture is expected to open up the vast sea area around the country for the establishment of more oceanic farms.

Sources connected to the company Oceanpick said that the company’s first choice of species to be developed in the Farm would be Barramundi or Asian Sea Bass, locally referred to as Modha. Barramundi has been a preferred fish for its mild buttery taste and Omega-3 content. To ensure peak freshness of all its produce, the project intends to vertically control the entire cold chain process.

The total investment of this project would be around $2.5 million. This project will no doubt raise the profile of Sri Lanka’s fisheries sector, providing over 100 job opportunities and a new avenue for graduate training, whilst paving the way for import substitution and developing of a value-added product.(niz).

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