NAQDA and NARA briefed – Devananda
By Naalir Jamaldeen
Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda yesterday (11) said he has instructed National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) Chairman Dr. Jayantha Wijeratne and National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) Chairman Prof. A. Navaratnaraja to take necessary steps to promote the farming of Sea Bass (Barramundi) fish in cages in the fresh water bodies and lagoons in the Northern Province jointly with Ocean Big Company (OBC) which is the largest private sector entity engaged in fisheries activities.
Minister Devananda said the OBC is engaged in fingerling production and has agreed to release more than 100,000 fingerlings into reservoirs per year and that they are ready to buy them when they grow. The Fisheries Minister expressed confidence that once the proposed project is implemented, more than 170 families depending on the fisheries industry will be able to raise their standard of living.
“Today, the fish food importers have to pay more money in various forms of import duty and so on. I have made a request to the Finance Ministry to reduce VAT, taking the future of a large number of traders engaging in this industry into consideration,” he said. At the same time, steps will be taken to remove VAT to reduce the price of fish food as soon as possible, bringing this issue to the attention of the Minister of Finance, Basil Rajapaksa, Minister Devananda added.