Mangrove diversity and related fishery in lagoon/estuarine systems in Potuvil- Panama coastal stretch.

Assessing the diversity of mangroves in Pottuvil, Kudakali, Shastravel and Ulla lagoons.

Assessing the diversity of mangroves in Pottuvil, Kudakali, ... , Pottuvil lagoon, Kudakali lagoon, Shastravel lagoon, Ulla lagoon © Kumudini Ekratne, IUCN, 2012


 Study the mangrove species composition, diversity and related fishery in  lagoon/estuarine  systems in Potuvil- Panama coastal stretch.


The proposed project intends to gather baseline information on the mangroves associated with Pothuvil lagoon, Ulla lagoon, Kudakalli lagoon, Sahastrawela lagoon and Hada Oya estuary. The survey on these mangroves would include the identification of true mangroves and mangrove associates as well as the threats to these mangrove communities. Fishery in terms of species harvested and fishing methods used in these lagoon and estuarine systems will also be investigated.  Number of fishermen depending on the lagoon/estuarine systems will be recorded.

True mangrove species, mangrove associates as well as the fauna inhabiting these mangroves will be documented.  Fish species harvested and the fishing methods used will be documented.  Maps (GIS based) will be prepared to show the distribution and extents of mangroves within the study area.  Fishermen dependency on the lagoon and estuarine systems in the study area will be evaluated.


  • Survey of mangroves communities using belt transects
  • Survey of threat factors
  • Survey of fishermen catch
  • Collection of  catch  records from fisher societies 


Target beneficiaries



  1. List of true mangrove species and mangrove associates (9 true mangroves and 16 mangrove associates) 
  2. Map depicitng mangrove cover in the study sites
  3. Report on threat factors
  4. List of food fish species

Accomplishments and challenges


The Grantee noted that estimating the quantities of fish harvested from Pottuvil lagoon was difficult due to the complicated nature of the lagoon fishery. The fishery survey needed careful planning and much resources such as labour, time and money.  In the project, this was overcome by support from the partners. Even though the project had only one Field Assistant, because of this partnership, it was possible to deploy about six people for the survey.

However, because of the complicated rotation system of using boats, the fishery is very complex. 

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

Involvement of women from the local communities was vital for the project as they provided valuable information such as fuel wood collection from the mangroves.

Lessons Learned

  • Perceptions of the communities living in association with the mangroves and lagoons/estuaries have been identified.  There is a high dependency of some communities living around Pottuvil lagoon on the commercial fishery, but all communities living around lagoons and estuaries in the study area do not have a clear understanding of the importance of mangroves. Fishermen understand the importance of mangrove ecosystems to fisheries, others do not care.
  • There is no village level or state level protection for the mangrove ecosystems in the sites studied. This is a critical need as there is much development planned in the area.
  • The project has improved understanding on the ecology of mangrove communities associated with lagoon/estuarine systems in Pottuvil – Panama coastal stretch. Much of these data are new.
  • There is a need for a support system for mangrove conservation. This knowledge that has been generated must be incorporated in decision making.  
  • Results from the current  study have been already presented to the Forest Department and the declaration of the   mangrove patch in Sahastrawela as a "Forest Reserve" (protected area) is already underway.



Project Facts



Pottuvil, Panama



1st Jun 2012 to 31st May 2013

MFF Grant Amount

LKR 734,400/-

Co-financing Partner

LKR 430,000.00

Implementing Partner

Ecological Association of Sri Lanka,
172, Bogahathenna, Udaperadeniya
Peradeniya 20400
Ranjith Kulasekara
Prof  K B Ranawana
Tel: + 94 812394470



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