Barramundi or Asian sea bass. (Photo: Stock File)
First-of-its-kind barramundi farm project to begin
Tuesday, July 02, 2013, 04:30 (GMT + 9)
Sri Lanka government authorised the development of a USD 2.5 million project to set up an oceanic Asian sea bass farm off the coast of Trincomalee, in the northeastern area of the country, according to the State Board of Investment (BOI).
Sri Lankan firm Oceanpick will be collaborating with a Scottish firm to farm barramundi in cages set up in the open sea. Oceanpick founder Irfan Thassim had signed an agreement with the BOI, an agency which offers tax breaks for companies.
Seabass or barramundi is known as 'modha' in Sri Lanka and is found spread out throughout the Asian continent. The fish can grow up to weigh 40 kg, although researchers have identified the Sri Lankan species (Lates lakdiva) as a separate possibly endemic one that grow up to about 20 kg.
Oceanpick is aiming to reach 1,000 tonnes of the finfish over the next several years and the project is expected to start in August, News360 reports.
“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,” announced a statement issued by the BOI.
The BOI explained that as opposed to fish farms hosted in brackish water lagoons and fresh water bodies, which has been the sole case until now, the new project will be the first of its kind and held in the open sea, LBO reports.
According to the World Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), about 50 per cent of seafood now comes from aquaculture, yet 90 per cent of Sri Lanka’s seafood is still wild-caught, the BOI stressed.
By Natalia Real