Improving Governance of Bottom Trawling in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka along with the Western Ghats is one of 34 biodiversity hotspots’ globally. Despite its small size of 65,701 km2, the island exhibits a wide array of ecosystems with a remarkable diversity of species, considered to be the richest per unit area in the Asian region.
Along its 1,620 km coastline, its rich marine and coastal biodiversity is supported by a number of habitats including coral reefs, mangroves, sea grassbeds, salt marsh vegetation, sand dunes and beaches.
However, much like the rest of Asia, these coastal ecosystems continue to be under threat from anthropogenic activities in coastal zones, where 25% of the island’s population is concentrated. Urbanisation,increasing tourism, pollution and particularly the growth of the fisheries sector have place heavy pressures on resources and biodiversity. Although Sri Lanka has the ability to generate vast revenue through sustainably harvested marine products, this is hindered by Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing, threatening opportunities in the export market greatly.
Bottom trawling is a particularly destructive form of fishing practice that causes irreversible damage to the marine environment by scraping the sea floor and in 2017 Sri Lanka banned the use of bottom trawl nets through the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Amendment) Act. However,failure to enforce the law has enabled some industrial scale fishermen to continue bottom trawling, which has led to immense ecological destruction and conflict with artisanal small-scale fishermen.
With the support of ADMCF, Environmental Foundation (Guarantee) Limited (EFL) are taking active steps to hold authorities accountable and improve good governance against bottom trawling in Sri Lanka, while encouraging the civil society to promote advocacy for environmentally sustainable economic growth.
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Programme: Living Oceans in Sri Lanka