The Richness of the Gulf of Mannar
Harbouring over 3,000 species of fauna and flora, the
Acknowledging the species diversity, the Government of Sri Lanka has ear-marked the Sri Lanka side of the Gulf of Mannar to be nominated as a Biosphere Reserve under the Man & the Biosphere Programme of UNESCO.
IUCN Sri Lanka with support from the Mangroves for the Future Initiative (MFF), the
An important component of this endeavour is to share these findings with the state agencies, fisher community and other stakeholders. Accordingly, IUCN organized a series of awareness programmes in Mannar and the first of the series; for the Government officials, led by the Government Agent, Mannar was held in November 2010. The second programme targeting school children was held on 17 December at the Zonal Education Office in Mannar and was conducted through training of Master Teachers. Teachers of science, geography, history and social sciences (of Grade 9 to 11) from 31 schools in Mannar District participated. .
A training manual on the Gulf of Mannar and its Environs was prepared for this purpose. A Teaching aid – a CD containing a power point presentation on The
Following this programme, the third in the series targeting the fisher communities in Mannar district was held on 18 December at the Local Government Office in Mannar. . Twenty four representing most of the fisheries societies in all six Fisheries Inspector Divisions together with another eight officials from the Fisheries Department attended this workshop. The discussion held following the presentations on the fishery resources and related issues brought out several important recommendations from the fishing communities on matters related to their livelihood.
Coincidentally, on the day of one of the awareness programme, the Navy and the Fisheries Inspectorate apprehended fishermen who had allegedly killed and brought ashore two dugongs. Dugongs are threatened, and the awareness programmes brought forth the message on conservation through this unfortunate incident
The need for protection of the biodiversity in the GoM is now evident and it is hoped that these awareness programmes will help in conserving these resources.