Hambantota manufacturing and packaging plant
By Hiran H. Senewiratne
The local Artemia breeding industry is on the verge of replacing the need to import cysts, helping to save foreign exchange outflows for aquaculture.
Artemia cysts are shrimp eggs with an excellent hatching rate and Artemia cyst nauplii are well known as the ideal live food for ornamental fish and shrimp on farms.
Nishantha Sandabarana, chairman of Lanka Salt Limited (LSL) in Hambatota, told The Island Financial Review that the company is currently in the process of taking steps to increase production of Artemia. It is a microscopic invertebrate living being that inhabits salt marshes, a source that provides high nutritional value of protein for ornamental fish and shrimp on farms. he said.
“At present, it germinates naturally in the salt flats of Palatupanna, near the Bundalama wildlife reserve, and we are thus able to manufacture Artemia for local consumption to meet about 10 percent of the needs. total premises. To increase these 50 acres have been allocated in the salt works to start producing them in a significant way, ”said Sandabarana.
He said Artemia Cystes nauplii are well known as the ideal live food for ornamental fish and shrimp and that there is a huge local and international market for the product. Currently Sri Lanka imports 90 percent of local needs, and we are on track to increase local production of this important food for aquatic animals. Encouragingly, the Artemia varieties found in local lagoons are unique with an excellent 80% hatching rate, he said.
Lanka Salt Limited (LSL) President Nishantha Sandabarana shows a top-quality, locally produced tin can of dry Artemia cysts, a live food used in aquaculture. A 150 gram tin costs Rs. 1,700 which he says are much cheaper than imported products of similar quality.
He said they sent several officials to Vietnam to train them more on the techniques. “Once the initial phase is fully engaged, we should be able to double production. Right now we’re producing 1,500 150 gram cans for a year, he said.
“The nutritional value of freshly hatched nauplii and the benefit of using dry cysts as a source of live brine shrimp is very important. Artemia cysts are used extensively around the world in most freshwater and marine fish and shellfish hatcheries, ”said Sandabarana.
LSL deputy production manager Sachira Wickramaarchchi said that until recently, the entire global demand for brine shrimp cysts was met by a few trading companies in San Francisco, Utah and Canada.
“Due to the high demand, the price of Artemia cysts has increased and it seems likely that the shortage of Artemia cysts could become a major constraint for the growth and development of aquaculture in the future,” said Wickramaarchchi.
The National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) started a project on the cultivation of Artemia many years ago after realizing the importance of Artemia as a living food in aquaculture. An initial survey was carried out along the southern, western and northern coasts of Sri Lanka as a precursor to the project.