Sea cucumber farms for North and East | Sunday Observer

Sea cucumber farms for North and East

6 August, 2023
The Government sea cucumber project  in Kilinochchi.  (Inset): Minister Devananda.
The Government sea cucumber project in Kilinochchi. (Inset): Minister Devananda.

The Ministry of Fisheries has introduced sea cucumber farms in the North and the East to provide a novel and more lucrative livelihood to the fisheries sector.

Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said that sea cucumber is a much sought after ‘delicacy’ globally that can yield high foreign exchange.

“As Sri Lanka is bouncing back to normalcy we at the Fisheries Ministry are making an effort to promote sea cucumber farms with a dual purpose. Firstly it will give the much needed Foreign exchange through exports and for the first time the fisheries sector will earn dollars through exports,“ the Minister told Sunday Observer Business.

As a first step, a well-equipped sea cucumber processing centre was built and opened by the Minister in Kilinochchi last week to facilitate exports.

He said that sea cucumbers are an expensive delicacy in many Asian countries, particularly in China where the price is around USD 35 (Rs. 11,000) per kg.

“With value addition it could go further up.”

Minister said that a unique advantage of sea cucumber is that it has a guaranteed market overseas. Minister however said that this is a 100% export oriented product as the Sri Lankan community does not consume sea cucumbers.

High value varieties of sea cucumber can even fetch up around USD 450 and our next target would be to move to this market segment and we are in the process of obtaining siblings for this.

With the Government supporting the creation of Sea cucumber farms the private sector has already commended large-scale floating commercial sea cucumber farming projects.

“This the first time that the government is directly getting involved in this project.

Jaffna district’s Cooperatives Union Federation Limited, an organisation that facilitates and sets procedures for fishermen, claims that Jaffna and Kilinochchi have the largest number of farms in the north, with over 500 farms in the coastal area of Kilinochchi and 600 farms in the coastal area of Jaffna and Batticaloa districts being engaged in them.