Community based fish nurseries at Kirawana and Rajawewa in the Ampara district, Sri Lanka: A success story
W.A.J. Rohitha Fernando, K.B. Chandrani Pushpalatha* and Jayantha Chandrasoma
Under the Aquatic Resource Development and Quality Improvement project (ARDQIP) of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development of Sri Lanka, 25 community-based mini-nurseries involving community groups were established in 10 districts of Sri Lanka. Of these, two were established at Kirawana and Rajawewa in the Ampara district in 2006. Each fish nursery established on lands with an extent of 0.8 ha, consisted of 10 mud ponds with water area of around 4,500 m2. Fish fry of Nile tilapia, catla, rohu, mrigal and common carp were reared upto fingerling stage in these mini-nurseries. In general, 3 culture cycles (range from 45-70 days) have been carried-out per annum. Average number of fish fingerlings produced per culture cycle during 2013-2014 were 242,301 (Kirawana) and 262,935 (Rajawewa). Average survival rates from fry to fingerling stage achieved in Kirawana and Rajawewa mini-nurseries were 71.8% and 79.2% respectively. Production cost per fingerling was Rs. 0.69 and Rs. 0.76 respectively for Kirawana and Rajawewa. Net profit obtained per annum was Rs. 953,085.00 in Kirawana and Rs. 974,643.00 in Rajawewa [In May 2016, 1 USD ≈ Rs. 146.9]. Net profits earned by operating mini-nurseries were seven times higher, when compared with the profits generated through paddy cultivation on a land of similar extent. During 2009-2014 period, these mini-nurseries collectively made a contribution of 20.3% to the total fish fingerlings stocked in the Ampara district. Rearing of fish fry to fingerling stage is a very profitable enterprise for rural communities and well-managed fish nurseries can play an important role in meeting the fingerling requirement to develop culture-based fisheries in inland reservoirs of the country.
Keywords: Fry-to-fingerling rearing; Indian carps; mini-nurseries; Nile tilapia; rural aquaculture