Ornamental fish export revenue surpasses $ 7 m

The demand for ornamental fish has increased with its revenue surpassing $ 7 million, said a major ornamental fish exporter at an event to record Sri Lanka winning 30 awards at the recently concluded Aquarama 2013 ornamental fish competition in Singapore.

He said that revenue from ornamental fish exports last year was $ 7.52 million and added that the industry targets a higher revenue this year with more fish breeders showing a keen interest to enter the ornamental fish export market.“The ornamental fish industry has a bright future. The lack of new species is a major hindrance to boost exports,” a fish breeder said.Ornamental fish breeders have called upon the government to support the industry and encourage more fish breeders to create a vibrant export market. Fish breeders said that adding new varieties with more export incentives for breeders will help enhance export revenue.

They said that the export of ornamental fish is a lucrative industry and that policy makers should focus on developing the sector.“Foreign buyers order large stocks, but we can only provide half the quantity they order due to the lack of species,” a fish exporter said.

Seventeen Sri Lankan fish breeders participated in the Aquarama, one of the largest ornamental fish exhibitions held biannually in Singapore. The competition comprised 10 major ornamental fish exporting countries. Sri Lanka was ranked second in the competition.

Sri Lanka's export revenue dipped by eight percent in the first quarter this year. Export income declined in recent years partly due to low external demand. The Export Development Board (EDB) will draw up a strategic plan to boost export revenue, said the new chairman of the EDB, Bandula Egodage.

He said that the ornamental fish export sector has huge potential to be a major revenue spinner. “We plan to boost the export industry,” he said.

Sri Lanka's export revenue is currently around $ 10 billion. The EDB targets an export revenue of $ 20 billion by 2020.