|Disease Prevention and Health Management in Coastal Shrimp Culture, Sri Lanka. (1997)|
|Annex I Guidelines for the Development of Policy and a Program for Aquatic Animal Health Research and Quarantine and Certification for Sri Lanka|
|2.0 Progress Towards Establishing Quarantine and Certification for Aquatic Animals|
|2.3 Current Practice|
The amount of importation of living aquatic animals into Sri Lanka appears to be small in relation to that seen for other countries in the region.
There has been no attempt to implement the procedures outlined in the ICES Code of Practice on the Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms (ICES 1995).
Fish and Shellfish Destined for Freshwater Aquaculture
The MOFARD is the sole importer of fish destined for freshwater aquaculture, occasionally importing broodstock of Indian major carps, Chinese carps, and tilapia to be used for production of fry at the MOFARD fish breeding centres at Uda Walawe and Dambulla. Giant river prawn (Macrobranchium rosenbergii) have also been imported. To date the MOFARD has paid little attention to the possible introduction of disease along with these broodstock, and as a result, a number of parasites and pathogens have been introduced into the country (Subasinghe and Balasuriya 1987). These parasites have transferred to fry produced at government hatcheries, and have subsequently been spread to natural waters through the stocking of fry in reservoirs and seasonal tanks. Prior to the curtailment of government support to aquaculture, Subasinghe and Balasuriya (1987) estimated that some eight million juvenile cyprinids were transported annually between fish breeding centres.
Decisions regarding permission to import for cultured species are made by the Director, Inland Aquatic Resources and Aquaculture Division, NARA, on an ad hoc basis, the Director referring to colleagues for information in cases when necessary.
Ornamental Fishes and Invertebrates
The aquarium industry imports some ornamental freshwater fishes to establish breeding programs. A small quantity is also sold to local aquarists. Some marine ornamentals are also imported. Although most of these marine fish are held in Sri Lanka only for a short period prior to transhipment, some are sold locally. At least two species of exotic freshwater ornamental fishes have been reported from natural waters (Mr. H.D. Ratanayaka, Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife, pers. comm.), their presence resulting from accidental escapes or deliberate release by aquarists.
Importations for Research
In Sri Lanka, as in many other countries in the region, many species have been imported for "scientific research." This activity can lead to the establishment of undesirable species, both through intentional introduction and by escapes from poorly designed research ponds.
Importation of Living Penaeid Shrimp
In 1994, the Minister of MOFARD placed a ban on the importation of shrimp postlarvae (Penaeus spp.). However, this action appears to have been taken too late, outbreaks of SEMBV occurring in 1996. This disease, believed to have been introduced into the country with postlarvae originating from India, has had a devastating effect on cultured shrimp production. Since this ban was initiated there has been at least one unsuccessful attempt to import penaeid postlarvae into the country.
Importation of Non-Living Fish and Shellfish and their Products
There appears to be little, if any, importation of fresh or frozen fish or shellfish into Sri Lanka. Importation of fresh or frozen penaeid shrimps would be of concern, as recent research has shown that viral diseases of shrimp such as SEMBV and yellowhead virus are resistant to freezing.
Most of the feeds used in the shrimp farming industry are imported, and thus may represent a potential source of infection if fish or shrimp by-products are used in their manufacture. The danger, if any, posed by this trade has not been evaluated.
Other Potential Source's of Disease Entry
Disease organisms may also be transferred internationally by such means as illegal importations, the movement of fomites (contaminated equipment such as nets and tanks), by ballast water carried in ships' hulls, and by the natural movements of aquatic animals, birds and mammals. The importance of these other sources has not been evaluated.
Bandaranaike International Airport and the Port of Colombo are the only official ports of entry for imported living aquatic animals. However, there is little or no entry through the Port of Colombo.
A health certificate issued by the appropriate veterinary authority of the country of origin is required to accompany imported shipments. Shipments are checked for identity by the Veterinary Inspection Service, which has a Veterinary Surgeon and six Quarantine Inspectors who provide a 24 hr presence at the airport. Certain species of fishes are prohibited from entering the country.