Challenges and Opportunities of Traditional Stilt Fishing Industry in Southern Sri Lanka

D.A.C.Suranga Silva


The study was designed focusing on stilt fishing industry, a small-scale and traditional fishery method practicing in Sri Lanka, to examine the Socio, Economic and Environment aspects in Traditional Fishing and Modern Fishing and to identify the challenges and threats particularly in Traditional Stilt Fishing (TSF) at community level. Further study indented to examine the available opportunities for the people who are engaging in Traditional Fishing industry, particularly in Traditional Stilt Fishing (TSF), and to identify already applied survival strategies of same fishing community. Special reference was given to examine the contextual preparations of TSF for the tourism intervention as a supplementary income generator and to identify the mediating effect on TSF by the Southern coast tourism industry. Finally to develop strategies to overcome challenges faced by TSF through harnessing the potentials and manipulating opportunities at community level.

The data in the study were collected from six sites of stilt fishing in southern Sri Lanka, using three sophisticated questionnaire from stilt fishermen (sample size 100) and those who  are interested in promoting it (tour guides/ operators/ hoteliers) (sample size 25) and those who are visiting it (tourists) (sample size 50). Both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used to analyze collected data. It was observed that tourism development gives more opportunities and living standards to the stilt fishing community. It was concluded that certain sites (within the six mentioned sites) possess higher comparable advantage in promoting stilt fishing than others. More than 70% of stilt fishers were satisfied with their jobs while most of them are earning satisfactory level of income through tourism. Around 50% of the interviewed tourists claimed that they were satisfied by visiting stilt fishing and government should consider ensuring sustainability of the stilt fishing industry. It was recommended to establish thorough system to promote tourism in terms of pricing of stilt fishing, value addition to stilt fishing, women empowerment, tourists’ safety assurance. The study was limited to present data, since there were no recorded statistics in the past regarding stilt fishing industry, thus the nature of the study requires a time series analysis. Therefore future research implications are available varying from job satisfactory with time series analysis in stilt fishing to in-depth analysis of socio economic aspects of stilt fishing community in Sri Lanka.

Keywords: Challenges, Opportunities, Traditional Stilt Fishing Industry.

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