Given Sri Lanka’s island geography and richness in marine biodiversity, it is critical that adequate steps are taken to ensure the long-term health of the country’s marine resources. With a limited number of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and low levels of protection of marine resources offered by Government institutions, much of the Island’s coastal marine resources and fisheries are subject to degradation and overexploitation.
With whale and dolphin watching becoming a lucrative source of income in Mirissa, Trincomalee and Kalpitiya, it is vital that regulations are enforced to ensure the sustainable viewing of these animals, the long-term health of these ecosystems and well-being of these marine populations.
As is the case with many island nations, the growing issue of plastic pollution and debris entering the ocean is also causing significant damage to the country’s coastline and natural resources. With limited awareness and programs to reduce the consumption of plastics and/or increase recycling and an efficient waste management system, Sri Lanka is at a critical point in the country’s history. LEF has identified a number of organizations working towards achieving these goals, including:
- Continued marine biodiversity research to back up advocacy efforts
- Working to ensure local operators adopt responsible whale and dolphin watching operation
- Lobbying the government to safeguard marine resources from overexploitation and overfishing.
- Lobbying the government to move the existing shipping lanes that cause ship strikes on endangered blue whales.