Sampling sea cucumber diversity, Jaffna Lagoon © Kumudini Ekaratne/IUCN
1. Diversity of sea cucumbers in Jaffna Lagoon assessed
2. Guidelines for site selection for sea cucumber culture formulated together with identification of suitable location
Marine biodiversity in the northern coastal waters is not well studied so far, and very little information is available on sea cucumbers despite their economic importance. Details of species of sea cucumbers have not been documented fully in the Jaffna lagoon. Sea cucumber fishing in the Jaffna lagoon has increased steadily in recent years due to the high price of beech-de-mer and export demands. If the harvest of sea cucumbers continues, it will deplete resources for future generations. To overcome this, and to ensure sustainability of sea cucumber resources, beginning culture trials in the Jaffna lagoon is an exciting concept. The present research project was formulated to document species diversity of sea cucumbers in the Jaffna lagoon, to prepare guidelines for site selection for sea cucumber culture and to identify a suitable location.
The main activities that have been proposed for the project are identifying sea cucumber species in the Jaffna lagoon by sampling sea cucumbers and documenting the results, reporting the catch abundance of sea cucumbers and drafting guidelines for site selection by assessing the ecological status of selected culture sites in the Jaffna lagoon.
From the identified species, details on sea cucumber fauna can be documented and monthly catch abundance can be reported. The guidelines for site selection will utilise knowledge from fishermen, aquaculturists and researchers to initiate commercial culture trials in the Jaffna lagoon, which will enhance the socio-economic status of fishermen as well as the country.
A publication arose from this research project in the form of a book to disseminate knowledge among the community, not only in the Jaffna district, but also in Sri Lanka. Subsequent study on the potential for sea cucumber cultivation in the Jaffna lagoon will improve the livelihoods of local fishermen and further promote reconstruction and development of the fisheries sector in the Jaffna district.
1) Feature article published Nov 16, 2014, in The Sunday Times: 'Fishing for sea cucumbers--how long can this go on?'
2) Publication titled 'Sea cucumbers: status and culture potential in the Jaffna lagoon, Sri Lanka'
21st Oct 2013 to 20th Jun 2014
in-kind from community = LKR 17,500/=
from Grantee (University of Jaffna) = LKR 175,000/=
Tel: + 94 021 2222 307