SL002.2 – Monitoring of fishing pressure and gear use in eastern Sri Lanka – Project description

Project scope

In April 2019, the Sri Lankan authorities designated a new marine sanctuary off the shores off Pasikudah, eastern Sri Lanka. This designation provides a framework to protect the pristine coral reefs located in this area from both direct and indirect anthropogenic degradation.

Based on an initial geographical assessment of fishing effort and gear type usage, the project focuses on monitoring the impact of awareness raising initiatives conducted by EnScope and Blue Resources Trust, its local partner, on changing the mindset of local communities towards the use of sustainable fishing techniques and alternative livelihoods.

Project impact

The information produced by this project will help optimise regulation of fishing practices in order to maximise long term yield and economic returns for fishermen while maintaining/improving the diversity and abundance of local species. The data collected will provide key information required for the establishment and improvement of efficient fisheries management measures, which will be put in place through continued collaboration with both the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation and local stakeholders.

The project will also focus on directly engaging with local fishing communities to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable fishing practices in the area and to actively involve them in the management of the new marine sanctuary.

Specific objectives:
Monitor fishing effort on coral reefs of eastern Sri Lanka
Identify spatial and temporal variations in gear usage, fishing effort and landed species
Explore the perception of local communities towards more sustainable fishing practices and alternative livelihoods

What you will learn

As part of this project, you will acquire skills, knowledge and practical experience in marine ecology and fisheries management.  This is a unique opportunity to work alongside local scientists and communities and to learn what marine ecology and fisheries field work truly is about.

As such, you will be engaged in scientific research and monitoring aimed at supporting the implementation and management of a newly established marine sanctuary. You will also be able to learn how to use and maintain field equipment.

Finally, you will also have an opportunity to engage with local communities get personal insight into their perspectives of marine conservation and sustainable development.

Social survey interview techniques
Reef fish and fishing gear type identification
Cultural experience through working alongside local communities
Basic fish morphometric data collection techniques
Contribute to defining the contents of the MPA management plan
Develop your GIS data mapping skills

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