Sri Lanka can tap Vietnam for aquaculture: minister

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters Producers, exports in the first quarter rose 27 percent from a year earlier to 1.15 billion dollars. This year’s seafood exports are projected at 5.5 billion US dollars, Tam said.

The Vietnamese have engaged in farming the sea or ‘mariculture’ for long years as well as engaging in inland aquaculture.

Lobster larvae for example are caught in the wild and grown in cages in the sea using several different techniques. Vietnam also grows other species including mollusks such oysters, sea cucumbers, crab and several species of fish for consumption and export.

In the first quarter alone exports of Pangasius species of fish (tra or Vietnamese river cobbler) reached 376 million dollars.

Minister Tam said in 2007 Vietnam’s aquaculture harvest had exceeded the fishery catch from the wild.

Sri Lanka at one time used to be an exporter of seaweed caught from the wild especially the so called ‘Ceylon moss’ in areas such as Mannar.

Tam said in 2005 Sri Lanka following a ministerial visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka a memorandum had been signed by the two countries but no action had been taken by either side.

In 2009 a work plan had been developed for the 2010 to 2013 period. During the current visit Tam had met Sri Lanka’s fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne briefly and a working group had been set up.

Minister Tam said if Sri Lanka has a master plan and strategy for aquaculture development with a list of species Vietnam was ready to assist wherever possible.

“Vietnam is ready to provide technical assistance all knowledge we have in order to develop the aquaculture sector in Sri Lanka and provide seafood to your people,” he said.

Minister Tam said in developing master plan for aquaculture it would be helpful to provide policies to integrate farmers, local private sector as stakeholders and also include foreign investors.

“The investment of the private sector both national and foreign is very important,” he said. “With foreign investment you will get technology transfer quickly and effectively.”

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