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Ornamental fish exporters demand reforms in present freight rates.

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Although Sri Lanka is endowed with favourable climatic conditions and resources for breeding and rearing ornamental fish for export, a considerable number of ornamental fish producers as well as exporters have given up the industry within a relatively short period of time.

Most (75%) of those were identified as small scale farmers. A majority (56%) of them used only cement tanks for their culture activities.

Only 47% of farmers had proper technical knowledge or training on fish culture while 42% directly supplied their fish products to the expoters.

In a recent meeting with the Export Development Board (EDB) Ornamental fish Advisory Committee, stakeholders highlighted the pressing need for comprehensive reforms across various aspects of ornamental fish exports to reach the industry’s full potential.

The industry stakeholders voiced their concerns about competitive freight rates offered by other countries, potentially impacting Sri Lanka’s exports of ornamental fish to European and US markets.

The ornamental fish exporters also stressed the urgent need for reforms in importation conditions, import bans, regulations on tissue-cultured plants and the Department of Forest’s restrictions on exporting exotic species.

One of the major issues raised was the delay in obtaining fresh animal quarantine reports within a 48-hour timeframe. They pointed out that this delay not only hinders timely customer updates but also affects operations, especially during extended weekends.

During the first nine months this year , Sri Lanka exported US $ 19.44 million worth of ornamental fish recording a year-on-year growth of 25% compared to the same period last year.

The EDB is actively engaged in conducting webinars and awareness sessions with the support of foreign missions, to establish connections with clients in overseas markets and drive growth in the industry.

The Advisory Committee noted that efforts are underway to work collaboratively with stakeholders, regulatory bodies and industry champions to navigate these challenges and pave the way for a thriving ornamental fish export sector in Sri Lanka.

The facilitation of the growth of Sri Lanka’s export sector remains the overarching objective of the EDB Advisory Committees.

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