Killing of dugongs:
Stern action against two fishermen
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr Rajitha
Senaratna has asked Ministry officials to take stern action against the
two fishermen arrested from Mannar on the charges of killing two
The fishermen have been detained. They have reportedly killed them
using dynamite, which is illegal under the Fisheries Act.
Meanwhile, a post mortem examination will be held on the two marine
mammals on Tuesday by National Aquatic Resources Research and
Development Agency (NARA) scientists and the National Zoological
NARA Chairman Dr Hiran Jayawardena yesterday told the Daily News they
will open the carcasses of the dugongs for public display after the post
NARA has taken action to bring the carcasses to Colombo and preserve
the creatures as museum specimens for future generations. As an
environmental friendly people, all the Sri Lankans have the
responsibility to protect those innocent animals and protest against the
massacre of sea cows, he said.
The two carcasses are currently kept in a cool room at Ceylon
Fisheries Corporation in Colombo. Minister Senaratna on Friday visited
the Corporation to inspect them.
”These are endangered marine mammals protected by international and
local law,” he said. “One hardly gets to see them.”
The dugongs, also known as sea cows and mudu ura are harmless marine
mammals that feed on sea grass.
The two killed were fully grown dugongs, a female and a male.
The female weighs about 545 kilos and the male 480 kilos.
NARA Chairman Dr Jayawardena said the female mammal was either
nursing or carrying a baby. The Post mortem on Tuesday will reveal that,
Asked if these fish were caught by fishermen out of stupidity, Dr
Jayawardena said there were no signs of injury to the mammals for
obvious reason that they were killed by dynamiting , which is an illegal
type of fishing.
Besides both mammals weigh around 1000 kilos and we have reports that
these mammals are killed in these areas for meat.
”This is illicit meat worth about Rs 1 million,” he said and added
that they have been asked by Minister Senaratna to conduct a full
investigation into the matter with orders to take stern action against
those kill fish using explosives,” he said.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
red list, Dugongs are vulnerable and endangered globally. They have been
protected by the Fauna & Flora protection ordinance Act No 1, 1970 for
several decades in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is also a party to the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES) of wild fauna and flora.
Dugongs belong to Dugongidae family and it is the only living species
of that family in the world. They grow up to 2.4-3m in length and weigh
between 230-500 kgs.