|Categories||Biodiversity, Education, Marine, Reptiles, Turtles|
|Date||13 Feb 2020|
Kalpitiya peninsula located in Gulf of Mannar which one side is sea and other side is Puttlam lagoon. It is a biodiversity rich area including sea turtles and other marine megafauna such as dolphins, whales & dugongs. Moreover, various habitats such as coral reefs, seagrasses and also largest mangrove coverage in Sri Lanka. Bar reef home to 156 species of coral and 283 species of fish. Both sea and lagoon fishing is the major industry in the area. Foraging sea turtles are entering to the lagoon and swim long distance inside. They often get entangled in the sea and lagoon causing damage for each entanglement for fishing nets. In response, fishers either beat the turtles’ heads until they are rendered unconscious or hack off the turtles’ body parts to make disentanglement easier. Fishermen are highly contributing to destruct sea turtles and almost all the coastal biodiversity in the area. Many people are having low income while few earning more.
Since 2013 using previous four Rufford small grants we have conducted awareness programmes and various filed conservation activities to minimize this destruction and change the minds of the fisheries communities. It was experiencing that due to the previous activities now many fishermen changed their attitudes and releasing bycatch sea turtles without harming. However, there is a need to refresh the knowledge of the fishers and also to discuss about the long-term sustainability. It is planning to conduct more workshops with fishermen to share their personnel experience to develop long term conservation measures. Sea turtle bycatch mitigation trials with LED lights will be tested with the volunteer fishers selected from the workshops. Moreover, we are planning to organize school art competition and educational exhibition on coastal biodiversity conservation in order to increase and refresh the knowledge on importance of sea turtle & coastal biodiversity conservation among the whole community in the Kalpitiya Peninsula. With the available information there were no such an event conducted within the peninsula in the past. Furthermore, it is planning to conduct beach cleaning programmes and mangrove replantation at the lagoon with the community to encourage them towards coastal biodiversity conservation.
Read about Lalith's previous project https://www.rufford.org/projects/lalith_ekanayake or for more information contact: