Minister assures to end dynamite fishing in Mannar
Killed dugongs to be displayed at museum
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratna
yesterday said he is determined to put an absolute end to dynamite
fishing in the seas off Mannar which killed two rare dugongs, while the
National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) is
preparing them for public display at a national museum.
The two internationally protected marine mammals, dugongs
were killed by dynamiting. Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Minister inspecting their carcasses at the Ceylon Fisheries
Corporation in Colombo. Ministry Secretary Dr Damitha de
Soyza, Ceylon Fisheries Corporation Chairman Mahil Senaratna,
NARA Chairman Dr Hiran Jayewardena, Managing Director
Nilmini Diyabedanage and Ceylon Fisheries Corporation
Managing Director Sadaruwan Lankeshware were present
|* Autopsy results expected end of next
* Dugongs were between 20 to 30 years old
* They weighed 545 kgs, 480 kgs
Meanwhile, NARA scientists are to perform autopsies on the two marine
mammals. Their carcasses are preserved in deep freezers at the Ceylon
Fisheries Corporation in Colombo, before they become museum specimen.
NARA Chairman Dr Hiran Jayewardena said the autopsy results are
expected by the end of next week. The fishermen responsible for killing
the animals are in remand custody. Fisheries Minister Senaratna has
ordered a full scale investigation into the dugong killing and the
disposition of fish dynamiting in Mannar, he said.
Minister Senaratna said he has received many reports confirming that
blast fishing or dynamite fishing is taking place in Mannar despite it
"We have also received information that some fishermen in Mannar are
in the practice of killing these mammals," he said.
Dugongs, also known as sea cows are rare species protected under
local and international law.
"We will not allow this to happen," he said.
Referring to the dead dugongs, he said looking at the size of their
bodies and their weight, one can say they were 20 to 30 years old.
"It takes a long time for them to reach this size and the weight," he
said. The two killed were fully grown dugongs, a female and a male. The
weight of the female is about 545 kilos and the male 480 kilos," the
Senaratna said he will stop the practice of dynamiting fish in Mannar
permanently as he stopped it in the Trincomalee district with the
support of the Navy. According to the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, Dugongs are vulnerable and
They have been protected by the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance
Act No 1, 1970 for several decades in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is also a party to the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES) of wild fauna and flora.
Asked why they were going to arrange a display of the mammals, NARA
Chairman Dr Jayewardena asked, "who has seen a dugong?"
"I have not seen one since 1980s. They will be kept as museum
specimen at NARA museum or some other national museum for future
generations," he added.