The ornamental fish industry has a positive growth potential and can reach US$ one billion mark by 2012.
The peaceful environment in the country will fuel the industry development and growth momentum will continue with the growth in the tourist sector, Association of Live Tropical Fish Exporters of Sri Lanka, President Sathyendra Wijayapura told Daily News Business.
It is important to provide assistance to industry stakeholder as it contributes 100 percent to the national economy. The benefit derived is widespread due to the stakeholder distributed countrywide , he said.
The industry suffered a setback due to recent air travel cancellations that hampered ornamental fish exports. The time was right to earn higher value of foreign exchange as it was just after the Easter holidays and the tailend of the spring season.
This was a big blow to the country as it was the time where the European market was booming and the demand was at peak. However, the industry could recover if air travel reaches normality to participate in the largest international pet exhibition - Inter Zoo to be held in Eurnbury Germany in early May.
This is an important event where all importers and wholesellers participate. Sri Lanka will conduct a pavilion with the participation of ten large-scale exporters. They expect to promote and generate more business.
Ornamental fish exports can help Lanka s economy.
Sri Lanka s economy is progressing well and the stock market is performing steadily. There are indications that the ornamental fish industry could prosper with the banking industry also being receptive towards the business community.
There are 50,000 stakeholders including breeders, suppliers and collectors and the ornamental fish industry could thrive, as the restriction to use Northern and Eastern waters is no more there.
The marine fish that are exported is caught from the lower level of the food chain where the numbers are high. This ensures the preservation of the natural balance in the ecosystem. The fish breeds fast at this level and it helps the sustainability of the industry.
The industry has a promising future. The Association is working towards educating divers to enable them to develop diving and collecting skills not to destroy the natural habitat and to use safety measures.
This will ensure minimal loss to the industry. We have natural conditions to breed marine fish and urge the Government to support this industry as it could earn high foreign exchange in future , Wijayapura said.