Sea cucumber plant/factory in Jaffna by April
The sea cucumber factory which was approved by the BOI last year is expected to be set up in Jaffna by early April.
Speaking to The Morning Business, Suganth Seafood Managing Director Suganthaseelan Aravinthan stated that the project is in progress and under construction at the moment.
He added that the construction began a month ago, in January, after being delayed by the rainy season.
“The work is in progress, we might complete construction somewhere towards the end of March or early April,” Aravinthan commented.
The agreement for this project was signed by BOI Chairman Susantha Ratnayake and Suganth Seafood Managing Director Suganthaseelan Aravinthan to increase sea cucumber for the export market.
The project has also had an initial investment of $ 1.2 million.
Aravinthan stated prior to the initiation of the project: “We focus on strict adherence to government norms, eco-conscious methodologies, transparent business practices, and on-time delivery. The company intends to expand the business gradually, thus providing more job opportunities to the local communities and enhancing their livelihood.”
The Suganth Seafood Managing Director also highlighted that there has been a gradual decrease of the Sea cucumber species due to harvesting.
As a measure taken to avoid the exploitation of undersized specimens, as well as to avoid the population depletion, Suganth Seafood reported to be working in collaboration with the Government and Ministry of Fisheries for a sea cucumber farming project.
“Due to the fact that the population of this species is decreasing, we have signed an agreement, an MoU, with the Ministry of Fisheries last Sunday (14). We are funding this project as well,” Aravinthan stated.
The Sea Cucumber Farming project would be initiated in the areas of the Iranative Island, Sri Lanka.
Moreover, this project involves an investment of Rs. 60 million and was said to be initiated in the month of March, after all discussions take place.
“We are going to help 83 families in the Iranative Island. This is an island in Sri Lanka; the people in this area will get benefits. This funding involves about Rs. 60 million. We are going to help them build the farm, and each farm will be provided an acre and nets will be provided as well. This is a project and the strategy we evaluated to save the sea cucumber species.” Aravinthan added.
Sea cucumber is harvested mainly in the northern and eastern Sea belt by specially trained divers in the seabed and is then processed to the required dried stage in the state-of-the-art factory that is to be established in the Jaffna Peninsula, the BOI said.
Furthermore, no special gear or net is used to catch sea cucumber. The sea cucumbers are mainly harvested by hand, through scuba diving or skin diving. Scuba diving is carried out at all major landing sites. Fiberglass reinforced plastic boats with 15- 25 hp outboard motors are the main craft used for this fishery.
Suganth Seafood is known as a leader in the export of Sea cucumber in Sri Lanka, and is said to have the largest operational network with over 500 divers around Sri Lanka.
The expert divers aim to harvest the best quality of nontraditional marine aquatic species in the most scientific manner to cater to the sophisticated international markets.