Economic viability of Asian sea bass (Lates calcarifer) and Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) small scale aquaculture systems in Sri Lanka




Information on the economic viability of aquaculture is crucial for investors when assessing the feasibility of an aquaculture project. As such information has been scarce in Sri Lanka, present study evaluates the production cost and profitability of two small scale aquaculture practices in Sri Lanka. These are 1) Asian sea bass (Lates calcarifer) cultured in net cages at Nadathivu canal in Kinniya in 2009 2) Monoculture of Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) produced under intensively in net cages in Maduganga estuary in 2009. In this study, data on yield, costs and returns of farming were collected to quantify production costs and to assess the profitability.

Economic analysis of the production systems revealed that the cost of tilapia and sea bass production per kg were Rs. 142.19 and 268.62 respectively. The yield of tilapia/m3 was measured to be 22.5 kg and the yield of sea bass/m3 was 22.1 kg. Tilapia cage culture had the highest return on investment (40.65%) and required 353.1 kg of the total production to reach the break-even point compared to sea bass.

Feed was the main cost factor which was 66.21% for sea bass production while that of tilapia production was 60%. The ratio of the variable cost in total costs of tilapia production was 74% while that of sea bass production was 82%. The benefit cost ratio in tilapia production (1.40) was higher comparing to sea bass production (1.12). Culture of tilapia showed the highest viability and profitability of the two evaluated culture practices.


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