Developing socio-ecological profile of the Jaffna lagoon

Jaffna Lagoon

Jaffna Lagoon, Jaffna © Kumudini Ekaratne, IUCN, 2014


Socio-ecological profile of the Jaffna lagoon is developed.


The Jaffna lagoon is one of the main marine resources providing habitats for a number of fauna and flora; and livelihood support for the coastal community of the Jaffna region. Even though studies have been conducted with respect to fauna and topography,  a comprehensive and complete study has not been conducted so far on the socio-ecological status of the Jaffna lagoon. Hence this study will focus on developing a socio-ecological profile of the same.  

Further, the Jaffna lagoon has been neglected and polluted by various sources over the past three decades due to the unsettled  conditions prevailed in the Northern region of Sri Lanka. This study also intends to investigate  the impacts of these pollutants.

Target beneficiaries

People residing in the Jaffna lagoon, Municipal Council, and Rural Councils, Departments of irrigation, Fisheries and Coastal Conservation and Central Environmental Authority


1. Socio-ecological profile of the Jaffna lagoon

2. Newspaper articles

Accomplishments and challenges

 Socio-ecological profile of the Jaffna lagoon

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

The profile on faunal and floral distribution in the Jaffna lagoon will assist further studies on biodiversity and species recovery programmes.

Lessons Learned

  • Jaffna lagoon currently faces a number of serious environmental and ecological challenges due to exceptionally high salinity in the Thenmaradchi area, increased phosphate levels and high occurrence of E.coli in the areas of Navanthurai, Pannai, Gurunagar, Columbuthurai and Pasayoor
  • Anthropogenic activities such as dumping of household wastes in coastal areas of the lagoon, agricultural and urban runoff and discharge of inadequately treated effluent from the nearby hospital sewage treatment plant and storm water runoff, diverted directly into the Jaffna lagoon, have negatively affected the lagoon water quality

  • The negative impacts on Jaffna lagoon water quality will ultimately adversely affect productivity and biodiversity of the lagoon followed by livelihoods of the fishing and coastal communities

  • There were a number of issues identified with regard to fisheries production namely usage of small mesh sized nets, construction of road and mangrove destruction of which the latter two were very prominent as those have started to exhibit their effects immediately. When the Jaffna - Pannai road reconstruction started gradually the landing site Navanthurai showed lower fish catch in terms of number and species of fish

  • Secondly there was another road reconstructed for the Mandaitivu village partitioning the wetland. As a result salinity difference developed between the two portions of the wetland by the road constructed

  • Further a third road was constructed through the thickly grown already parted mangrove area to make a jetty for the transport of goods to make a hotel in a small island called Chirutivu. Chirutivu is one of the few small islets formed within the Jaffna lagoon which is closely located to the Mandaitivu island. This island also has rich growth of Mangrove vegetation.  To make this unnamed road, a number of mangrove vegetations were cleared that an uncommon mangrove species Bruigyra was largely cutoff  leaving a single tree intact at present (Gunvarshan and Sivaruban 2015)

  • Field / Society oriented research interest has been developed among the undergraduates

Project Facts



Jaffna Lagoon



1st Jun 2014 to 31st May 2015

MFF Grant Amount

LKR 2,048,310

Co-financing Partner

Dept of Zoology
University of Jaffna

Implementing Partner

Department of Chemistry
University of Jaffna 

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