Sept 07, Colombo: The State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dilip Wedaarachchi says that all necessary plans are being prepared to expedite the process of making the country self-sufficient in fish production.
The Minister said that the country's fish requirements are expected to be met by the fresh water fisheries industry.
He further stated that a fish farming campaign will be launched to produce high priced fish species including shrimp and crabs for exports to the world market and to meet the daily fish requirement for local consumption through freshwater fisheries industry.
Minister Wedaarachchi expressed these views delivering the opening address of the program held Thursday (05) in Chilaw to educate the fishing community and the business community engaged in the prawn farming industry.
He further stated that a fresh water fisheries campaign will be launched targeting the fisheries sector for local consumption.
The awareness program was organized by the National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) in association with the Aquaculture Development Association [SLADA].
Over 600 people, including the prawn farming community and the business community associated with the prawn industry in Puttalam, participated in the program.
Minister Wedaarachchi speaking further said the prawn farming in Sri Lanka is very successful and most of the cultivation is done in the Puttalam district.
"Accordingly, our plan is to launch a freshwater fisheries campaign. We are committed to enhancing our freshwater fish harvest as well as providing the necessary facilities and assistance for new entrepreneurs joining this industry. The Aquaculture Development Authority has already commenced work to provide all necessary facilities. "
"Our marine fish yields are declining. This has been confirmed in a number of studies. But the demand for fish is increasing day by day. It is not possible to meet this demand only from the harvest from sea because a large quantity of fish harvest is needed for exports. There is a huge demand in the world for our fish resources and we are implementing a targeted program to meet that demand. This will enable the country to earn huge foreign exchange. Therefore, we are doing all we can to make the fresh water fisheries industry the new turning point in our fisheries industry," Minister Wedaarachchi said.
The Minister added that there are a lot of tanks and lagoons in the country and commencing fish aquaculture in these water resources will create a golden era for the freshwater fisheries industry.
The National Aquaculture Development Authority is implementing the necessary activities to earn the highest foreign exchange in the country through shrimp farming, the Minister said.
He said Sri Lanka's shrimp industry has a huge demand in the world and the steps have been taken to start the aquaculture of SPF vannamei and SPF monodon, shrimp species as well as crabs and other sea species.
He added that the plans have been drawn up to provide the land, grant and loan facilities and technical know-how as well as regular consultation and supervision to the aquaculture farmers.
Measures are being taken to establish an aquaculture and industrial zones in 1400 hectares in the Mannar District. The Aquaculture Development Authority will also take steps to breed the necessary healthy fish fry.
The Minister said the highest yield of the prawn crop was recorded in the year 2018. That's over 8100 metric tons. The export earnings from prawn shrimp were Rs 3485 million.
"We are also working towards the future of the shrimp industry by expanding the aquaculture of shrimp further and introducing new laws. Steps have been taken to ban fragmenting large scale prawn farms and give them for other purposes and the minimum size of land is now 4 acres. Even financial institutions including the World Bank have come forward to provide loans to those who are truly committed to this industry."
At this event, the National Aquaculture Development Authority briefed the participants on the steps taken for the future of shrimp farming.