Lankan, Canadian researchers to improve shrimp farming
A team of Sri Lankan and Canadian researchers on aquaculture in the
Wayamba province are helping to improve farm practices in
shrimp and oyster farming to achieve sustainable development to
improve incomes and contribute to Sri Lanka food security goal ?, said
Project Manager and research associate in the Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada Dr.Tim DeJager.
He was delivering the key-note address on Empowering People to
Achieve and Maintain Sustainable Aquaculture develpment on project
targets in Shrimp Farming Industry in the Wayamba province."
He said, "The Wayamba University of Sri Lanka (WUSL) and the
University of Calgary (UC), Canada are collaborating partners in a two
year knowledge mobilization project to improve incomes and food security
for the rural poor in Sri Lanka." The team is conducting surveys and
field research to identify the key sustainability indicators, risk
factors, knowledge gaps, and the barriers and constraints to improve
This baseline research in shrimp farming, involving graduate students
Trisha Westers and Jessica Wu from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at
the University of Calgary, along with Dr. Sevvandi Jayakody, senior
lecturer in the department of Aquaculture and Fisheries WUSL and
supported by a group of research assistants from the WUSL, provides a
snapshot of aquaculture sustainability in Sri Lanka, indicating the
various social, environmental, and economic factors at play.
The prevalence of disease in shrimp farms is the predominant factor,
necessitating the development of improved management practices. Based on
this research, the intervention research is now underway, led by Prof. J
M P K Jayasinghe, Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries of WUSL, and
Dr. Tim DeJager.
They are supported by Sandaruwan Prasanna, who is coordinating the
field research, and Chaminda Fernando of KMN Aqua Services, who is
coordinating farmer input on the formulation of locally adaptive
sustainable management practices.
Tim said "Shrimp Farming in NWP is done under different social and
environmental conditions; and the zones and sub-zones have evolved to
reflect the unique conditions of farming areas.
However, the problem is that existing Best Management Practices (BMPs)
as BMPs are standardized and do not take into consideration the unique
conditions, constraints, and priorities of local conditions." Dr.
Jayasinghe's team is meeting with shrimp farmers in each of the 25
subzones in the NWP to identify the unique priorities, conditions, risk
factors, barriers, and constraints, Farmers will also share innovative
and adaptive ways in which sustainable management practices can be
implemented. The input from this process will be analyzed and integrated
into a system of technical guidelines for adaptive sustainable
management practices,?said Dr. Tim DeJager.
A group of global experts will advise on the formulation of these
guidelines. The draft guidelines will then be presented at a meeting of
key government and industry stakeholder groups for consultation and
revisions. The team will publish these guidelines for adaptive
sustainable practise into a user-friendly manual that will contain the
sub-zone adaptations that can be put into practice by local farmers.
Workshops will be conducted with farmers to assist in the knowledge
sharing process and enable farmers to share experiences and lessons
learned in their implementation.
"While the input into the guidelines is underway, I will be leading a
complementary activity to enhance knowledge sharing among the farmers.
Sixty farmers will participate in mobile phone communication trial where
they will receive SMS messages including voice SMS to see if this can be
developed into a new means of instant communication among farmers to
help them become aware of important new information and enable easier
knowledge sharing and better connectivity to each other.
"The messages will be elaborate on the technical guidelines for
adaptive sustainable practices. Results of the trial will be analysed
and views of farmers in the trial will be surveyed. Recommendations for
expanding such a system for all shrimp farmers will be made and if
possible incorporated into the website that will be developed, he
emphasised. Finally, a website will be developed to enhance
knowledge resource accessibility from global sources and make them
available for access to shrimp farmers in Sri Lanka. Web development
experts will survey stakeholders to obtain input on most important
features and application to be included, which will then be incorporated
into a requirements document that will be used as a guide to develop the
site. It will be tested by a group of users from the stakeholder
community before final release for use by the industry and its knowledge
ecosystem, he said.