Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 20 March 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

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 said.

“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 permission.

“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.


Seylan Sure
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