In its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, Sri Lanka is home to an abundance of coastal and marine resources. And while national policies and development visions already aim toward a blue economy, much of this natural wealth is currently not being used in a sustainable way or to its full potential, experts say.
“Coastal fishing communities are vulnerable,” says Ruchira Cumaranatunga, a senior professor in the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture at the University of Ruhuna. “There is a need to create or enhance alternative livelihoods in coastal areas of Sri Lanka. While helping coastal fishermen to sustain their fishery activities, they should be provided with additional sources of income. The best method for this would be to promote small- and medium-sized enterprises based on fish processing, utilization of fishery waste or trash fish, and seaweed farming. Women and school dropouts in fisher families could be involved in these SMEs.”
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