Culture based fisheries in the Annaiwilundawa wetland
Small-scale fisheries in reservoirs have played an important role in the subsistence economy in Sri Lanka, but some reservoirs have been declared as sanctuaries for the protection of biodiversity. However, the need to provide livelihoods for the people living in these areas has risen in order to alleviate poverty and to gain their support for conservation. The Annaiwilundawa sanctuary, a seasonal dry zone wetland, will be stocked with suitable fish species by local communities who will be given technical support from staff at Wayamba University. A revolving-fund will be established from which an agreed proportion of the income from the sale of fish will be invested in order to purchase fingerlings, nets, etc. and extend the benefits to more community group members. This community-based fishery management system will be developed to enable sustainable utilisation of fish whilst at the same time safeguarding the avian biodiversity of a one of only three recognised RAMSAR wetland sites of international importance in Sri Lanka.