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Sustainable aquatic resources management in the 21stcentury: some important issues


U. Edirisinghe

University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
About U.
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture
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Sri Lanka, 'the Paradise of the earth', is blessed under the Law of the Sea to possess 514,000 km2 of marine resources, in addition to having the highest water bodies: land ratio in the world. Harvesting of resources from deep sea and international waters is hampered by lack of capital as well as technology.


A research survey for the determination of available resources has become essential, especially for the management of coastal and offshore resources. Difficulties associated with the management of open access resources under open market economy with easy entry and denied withdrawal even at economic loss is the rule of the day. This is further aggravated by the multi-gear and multi-species problems inherent to fisheries. Lack of boundaries between coastal and offshore resources have led to political decisions resulting in diminished catches with respect to migratory species and, over exploitation of some of the endemic and indigenous species. Non-availability of data with respect to ecosystem imbalances mainly due to illegal fishing, dynamiting, over-fishing, destruction of natural habitats together with unsuitable modern technology imported without any research have led to irreparable damage of these invaluable resources.


Brackish water resources have been irretrievably damaged due to irrational river-base diversification schemes, which have been planned with little consideration for environmental protection. The conversion of highly productive lagoons to polluted estuaries as a result of these irrigation schemes has badly affected the sustainable life styles of the coastal populations. Unscientific development of shrimp farming in the sensitive areas with the destruction of the mangrove vegetation has damaged the resource beyond easy recovery. The disruption of the riverine ecosystem by damming and the concurrent unplanned agriculture development has not only polluted the aquatic resources but also led to environmental degradation of the coastal resources. The haphazard introduction of exotic fish even by the state has led to ecosystem imbalances due to parasitism and pathogeneses as well. Sustainable development of agriculture, livestock and fisheries through a holistic integrated approach should be the plan for the new millennium.
How to Cite: Edirisinghe, U., 2003. Sustainable aquatic resources management in the 21stcentury: some important issues. Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension, 6, pp.122–127. DOI:
Published on 30 Dec 2003.
Peer Reviewed


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