Tougher laws to control whale-watching
The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) will introduce tougher
laws to control whale and dolphin watching in Mirissa. The laws will
come into effect before the next whale-watching season in August and
September, Director General, Wild Life Conservation Chandrasiri Bandara
“The current season will end in a few weeks and it will confuse if we
attempt to change the situation in Mirissa at present,” he said.
A collective of businessmen in the whale and dolphin-watching
industry in Mirissa complained that in the absence of supervision in the
area, certain operators act irregularly.
As a result there are clashes between operators. Two weeks ago, the
media reported a clash between two whale-watching vessels in mid sea,
with tourists on board.
Representing the collective, Asanga Cooray, an owner of a private
whale-watching business, said some operators permit visitors to dive and
snorkel in the water, while on whale-watching expeditions, without DWC
“This is a threat to others who abide by the law and run the
business,” he said.
“Wildlife officials, after much effort, made Kalpitiya much safer for
wildlife enthusiasts. Mirissa also needs similar control to protect
marine wildlife,” Bandara said.
He said the main concern of the new Marine Protection Unit of the DWC,
is to make the sea and coastal areas safe for marine life. The DWC will
work closely with experts on marine fauna and flora and re-examine the
existing laws and regulations.
“We have set up a network with all Universities and collaborate with
their research. The Department is working closely with the IUCN to find
solutions to problem areas in marine wildlife protection, since this
area is new to us,” he said.