November 10, 2008

Batticoala's shrimp farming industry to be supervised


A zonal plan is being designed to regularise the shrimp/prawn farming industry in the Batticaloa District.


By regularizing, the shrimp farmers will be guided along in adopting the latest scientific practices in their farms and also to get them licensed.


Ravi Kumar, the Officer-in-Charge of the Regional Aquaculture Extension Office in Batticaloa said, currently people in the shrimp business have no authority regularizing them, therefore there are no records on how the shrimps are being exploited in the region. It could be that they are overly exploited or exploit to a certain degree. No recent records have been compiled as to whether the shrimps are caught in a suitable environment and under what circumstances would the spread of diseases prevail in shrimp farming.


Batticaloa District is a coastal plain covering an area of approximately 2,854 sq km and is famous for shrimp farming in three brackish water bodies, namely Batticaloa Lagoon, Valachenai Lagoon and Uppar Lagoon.


Brackish water industrial shrimps aquaculture in Sri Lanka was first introduced in Batticaloa; however, it was abandoned in the 1980s due to a conflict. Small-scale shrimp farming is being continued by small farmers although it has not been regularized by any authority. It is in recent years, under the Neganehira Nayodaya, that the government has taken steps to promote coastal activities in the Eastern Province.


The National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) mandated with the development of aquaculture industry in the country, made a request to the National Aquatic Research Agency (NARA) to prepare a zonal plan and to identify suitable sites for shrimp farming in the Batticaloa District and to regularise shrimp farming using proper channels.


Primary objective of the formulation of a zonal plan is to evaluate suitable sites for brackish water shrimp farming. The study commenced in February 2006 and is expected to be completed in the near future.


This zonal planning is devised for the implementation of economically viable and environmentally friendly aquaculture practices to the sustainability of shrimp farm industry.


With the zonal planning, few sites were suggested for shrimp hatcheries and the Community Based Shrimp Farming Ponds, added Kumar.


The zonal draft plan reveals that a shrimp hatchery is planned to be established in Puthukudiyiruppu and Community Based Shrimp Farming Ponds are planned to be established in Vakarai.

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