Sri Lanka is home to 111 species of aquarium fish (which are also known as ornamental fish) living in freshwater and marine habitats; thus, Sri Lanka holds a reputation as a supplier of high-quality fish to the international market and has had a steady expansion of its trade spanning more than 125 countries. The ornamental fish exports consist of 70% of freshwater ornamentals and 30% of marine ornamentals.
The North Western Provincial office of the SLEDB, successfully conducted the awareness seminar/workshop on Ornamental Fish for the export Market on 12th August 2014 in the auditorium of District Secretariat-Kurunegala with the participation of 110 export oriented Ornamental Fish farmers in North Western & North Central Provinces. The programme was organized by the NWP-EDB with the assistance of National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA).
The main objective of conducting this programme is to increase the capacity of export oriented ornamental fish farmers in the region by way of enhancing Technical/Market awareness and facilitating linkages between farmers and exporters in order to develop consolidated supply base of quality ornamental fish for exports.
The notable feature of our exports during the last few years was the decline in exports, an ominous signal to the economy. The reason behind this decrease was the local and foreign market factors such as high cost of production, lack of strategic strength, non-preference by Western countries and economic crises in the occidental world.
Major products manufactured in Sri Lanka which took take the precedent role in its contribution to the export trade also shown decline trend. Under this situation, the export of fresh and marine water ornamental fish have significantly maintained export strength except 2012 and now showing nearly 20% increase of its export in 2013 up to August compare to the previous year.
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.