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Oceanpick donates Seabass fingerlings in support of smallholder fishing communities in Sri Lanka

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In an effort to bolster national fish production as well as to improve the livelihoods and food security initiatives of smallholder farmers in Sri Lanka, Oceanpick (Pvt) Ltd. -South Asia’s spearheading oceanic farming operator-, recently distributed free fingerlings to small-scale fish farmers across the island, a company news release said.

The distribution was undertaken in the presence of officials from the National Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka (NAQDA), and served to attest to the sustainable aquaculture company’s commitment to supporting local start-ups of artisanal Seabass farming operations.

A joint venture between Aberdeen Holding, Kames Fish Farming Ltd. of Scotland, and other investors-, Oceanpick was founded in 2011 with the aim to narrow the demand-supply gap of premium quality seafood without compromising on dwindling species numbers. Having started off as South Asia’s first ever commercial-scale offshore oceanic farm for finfish, and currently still the only offshore aquaculture operation in Sri Lanka, the BOI-approved company’s operations are highly sustainable, harnessing the strong currents and high quality of seawater off the northeast coast of the island to allow the fish to breed and thrive in its natural saltwater environment, the release said.

“Operating from its main Seabass and Barramundi hatchery and farming facility in the untouched waters of Trincomalee, Oceanpick is positioned with a geographical advantage, nestled amongst a major aquaculture hub alongside India and Bangladesh. However, the sustainable marine fish farm has taken the lead in Seabass and Barramundi culture, having recently being awarded the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) certification for Barramundi in South Asia; highlighting Sri Lanka on the map as having the first BAP-certified aquaculture facility in the region,” it added.

Seabass farming has proven to be an effective and sustainable economic activity; one that has the capacity to increase the income of fishing communities owing to its low environmental and operational costs.

At the Oceanpick facility, Seabass fingerlings are first allowed to hatch out and grow in the company’s on-shore nursery located close to the sea sites, and are then transferred to sea cages anchored to the ocean floor, where strict biosecurity standards are maintained and the waters consistently monitored for temperature and salinity. In 2019 alone Oceanpick facilitated the growth of over a million fingerlings, and as a result, were able to produce a surplus that is now able to benefit the growth of the fisheries sector in more ways than one.

“Over the years our facility has played a significant role in responsible farming that produces all-natural, nutrient-rich, and superior quality seafood, underscoring the sustainability of our facility and overall operations,” said Dan Richardson, Head of Operations at Oceanpick. “However, smallholder fish farmers are as crucial for the future growth of the fisheries sector. We felt the need to step in to strengthen connections by combining our resources, with the aim to both boost production as well as help restore livelihoods.”

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Foreign qualified medical students protest

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A group of foreign medical degree holders protested opposite the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (23) requesting that tangible measures be taken to conduct the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) without further delay.

They alleged that over 1,500 students had been deprived of the opportunity to sit the examination due to the fault of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, which is now under investigation by a committee, appointed by Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi.

Photo: A section of the protesting students (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

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SJB insists referendum necessary besides 2/3 majority in Parliament

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Supreme Court moved against 20A

By Chitra Weerarathne

General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, yesterday (23) filed a petition in the Supreme Court stating that the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution was inconsistent with the Constitution. It requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and approval by people at a referendum for passage, the SJV has argued.

The SJB says 20A violates people’s sovereignty and franchise enshrined in Article (3) and (4) of the Constitution.

The petitioner has argued that the provisions in clause 55 of the Bill are inconsistent with the public trust doctrine and the principle of checks and balances and would prejudicially affect public finance.

 The clause 54 of the Bill seeks to repeal Article 156 A of the Constitution, which provides constitutional recognition to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or corruption, the petition says.

 The petition says 20A seeks to repeal the prohibition on dual citizens being elected to Parliament and to the post of President.

The power of the Auditor General to audit the state institutions has been curtailed, the petition says, arguing that it could be detrimental to the economy.

It will be detrimental to the country if the Constitutional Council is replaced by a Parliamentary Council, the SJB General Secretary’s has contended in his petition.

Clause 20 (2) of the proposed 20A has restricted the powers of the Election Commission as regards the conduct of elections, the petitioner has argued.

The 20A states that an omission by the President could no longer be challenged through a fundamental rights violation petitions in the Supreme Court, the petitioner has said, adding that the Bill seeks to further enhance the powers of the President by allowing him to unilaterally remove the Prime Minister. The President would not be accountable to Parliament, the petition says.

The 20A would repeal Article 70/ (1) of the Constitution and enable the President to dissolve Parliament even immediately after a general election, the SJB General Secretary argues.

The respondent to the petition is the Attorney General.

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Lawyer Hijaz’s foundation received funds from banned foreign outfit – CID tells court

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By A.J.A.A beynayake and Kasuni Rebecca

The CID yesterday informed the Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage that Save the Pearls Trust run by lawyer Hijaz Hisbullah, now in custody for allegedly aiding and abetting one of the Easter Sunday bombers, had received Rs.13 million from a banned organisation named the Caliphate of Qatar.

The CID told court that according to the bank accounts of the trust the money had been received by it during the last few years and the police had launched an investigation to ascertain whether the funds had been used for terrorist activities.

The CID told court the investigation had been launched under the Money Laundering Act and a psychologist’s opinion had been sought on the book titled “Navarasam” found in a madrasa (school teaching Islam) run by Save the Pearls Trust in Puttalam.

The Magistrate order the CID to submit to court a Sinhala translation of the book and examine whether the contents of the book promoted terrorism.

The case will be taken up again on October 7.

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