While Sri Lanka grapples with the after effects of the MV X-Press Pearl marine disaster off the South and West coasts of the island, the Ministry of Fisheries has assured citizens that in suspending fishing activities from the affected coasts, all seafood that makes its way to the markets has officially been declared safe for consumption.
In light of recent events, and in order to reel in greater confidence towards the fisheries industry as a whole, Round Island -the consumer face of Oceanpick (Pvt) Ltd.-, has put in place additional safety and precautionary measures to ensure that its seafood retains the quality and freshness it has come to be associated with, both locally, and overseas.
In addition to being approximately 380 nautical miles away, and on the far side of the island from the MV X-Press Pearl incident, Round Island’s sustainable offshore oceanic farms north of Koddiyar Bay are also protected from the open ocean currents. In spite of this current geographical advantage, Round Island has employed 24-hour on-duty staff at its farms to continue to monitor both the water and the condition of its fish for even the slightest anomalies; having to date observed none.
Residual testing of fish stocks are being conducted each week, and additional testing of waters around its farms to monitor quality parameters have been put in place as a long-term safeguard. As a further preventative measure, the company plans to set up water monitoring stations in key locations along the eastern seaboard, north and south of Trincomalee, so as to provide early warning of any undue changes to the environment.
Round Island is also working closely with marine agencies such as the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) for knowledge-sharing initiatives as well as to gain insight on any changes to the marine environment on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the company will be collaborating and partnering with institutions such as the Ocean University of Sri Lanka to expand its coral reef monitoring network to cover the east coast, as a means to accumulate vital data on marine life, benthic zones, and water chemistry.
“Ever since word of the disaster spread, we have had to respond to many queries and concerns about the quality and safety of the fish we produce,” said Daniel Richardson, Head of Operations at Oceanpick. “Even though our farming sites have been unaffected by the MV X-Press Pearl fire, we are proactively taking every precaution to ensure that our seafood, as well as those of fishing communities across the island, will be more than just fit for consumption in the years to come.”
Pioneering Sri Lanka’s entry into marine aquaculture as the first BAP-certified barramundi aquaculture facility in South Asia, Oceanpick was founded in 2011 with the intent to best utilize the island’s pristine seas to responsibly farm superior quality barramundi (modha) for local and international markets; while also alleviating the pressure on native wild stocks.
Round Island remains confident of the aquatic conditions on the east coast of Sri Lanka, and are committed to providing transparency and accountability to all of its partners, stakeholders, and consumers when it comes to delivering on fresh and wholesome seafood.
All Round Island products continue to be available at select supermarket chains, through its delivery partners UberEats and PickMe, and for direct order through its website (www.roundisland.lk).