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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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UNDP: Rs 600 bn tax cut a huge mistake

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Director of the Sustainable Finance Hub of the UNDP Marcos Neto has called the decision to do away with a range of taxes here a fundamental mistake committed by Sri Lanka.The comment was made at the Parliament complex during an interactive dialogue on ‘Revenue Generation as a Pathway to Sri Lanka’s Economic Recovery’ on Tuesday (09). It was organised on a request by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Opposition as well as several other parties alleged that the government had lost as much as Rs 600 bn due to the controversial decision to do away with a range of taxes including PAYE, NBT (Nation Building Tax), Withholding tax, Capital Gain tax imposed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, Bank Debit tax and unprecedented reduction of VAT (Value Added Tax). The 15% VAT and the 2% NBT which amounted to 17% imposed on all goods and services were unified and reduced to 8%, effective from the first of December 2019.

The decision was taken at the first Cabinet meeting of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government on 27 Nov. 2019.Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe is on record as having said that the powers that be ignored the IMF warning not to do so and also the immediate need to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt (SF)

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Debate on power tariff hike on 29 Aug.

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Party leaders have decided to debate the electricity tariff hikes in parliament on 29 August.The date was fixed for the debate following a request by the main opposition SJB.The debate will be held from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on 29 August.

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament on Wednesday (10) that as per the proposed tariff hike the monthly electricity bill of domestic consumers would increase by 75 percent to 125 percent. “This is unbearable. This is like sending the people to an electric chair while they are struggling to make ends meet amidst a massive increase in cost of living.

How does this government expect people would be able to pay such an exorbitant price for electricity? We demand a debate in parliament before this proposed tariff hike is implemented,” Kiriella said.

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British national to be deported

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has ordered Kayleigh Fraser, a British national whose passport has been taken into custody after she posted on social media anti-government protests, for violating her visa conditions, to leave the country by 15 August. The Department has already cancelled her visa.

Earlier this month Immigration and Emigration officials visited Fraser at her home and took her passport into custody. The Department said Fraser had been in Sri Lanka for medical reasons since 2019. She had returned home several times, it said.

The Immigration and Emigration officers told her to visit them within the next seven days.Fraser on 02 August said that a group of immigration officers had visited her and asked for her travel document. She said that officials told her that they would return her passport when she visited the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Fraser added that she had received an anonymous call asking her to leave Sri Lanka as soon as possible before facing ‘big problems.’ Immigration officials visited her house a few days after the call.

Fraser has shared a number of photographs and videos from the ‘Gota Go Gama’ site. Human Rights groups and activists have accused the Sri Lankan government of using Emergency regulations to harass and arbitrarily detain activists seeking political reform and accountability for the country’s economic crisis.

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