Chinese exploitation of Sri Lankan maritime resources is opposed by Sri Lankan fishermen.



Chinese exploitation of Sri Lankan maritime resources is opposed by Sri Lankan fishermen.
Taking advantage of the Sri Lankan government’s desire for commercial aquaculture, China has launched a campaign to gain sector dominance. Several Chinese corporations and entities

Sri Lankan proposals aimed at gaining long-term control were strengthened. marine resources. The cultivation of sea cucumbers is one of the island nation’s primary economic activities.

This is the region that Beijing appears to be eyeing. Some locals, according to various reports, indicate that Sri Lanka shipped approximately 336 tonnes of sea cucumbers. China, Singapore and Hong Kong in 2021. Consequently, breeding and exporting

The aquatic creature like a sausage that is considered a delicacy in China and Southeast Asia is a profitable market for Chinese businesses.

Sri Lankans, prompted by the potential and Chinese interest, are pursuing Cabinet authorised plan in June 2022 for a large-scale commercial sea

5,000-acre cucumber projects in Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, and Kilinochchi. Batticaloa’s northern and eastern districts. Colombo’s decision is being part of its efforts to combat the ongoing currency crisis in the country.

According to reports, the Macau-based Chinese firm Chunmanm Cultural Business Group (CCBG) has offered to establish a large-scale sea cucumber farming operation in the Puttalm and Jaffna districts. The projected undertaking would include more than 36 000 acres of water to yield 8.6 million kilogrammes cucumber valued at $450 million However, the 10-year project will us e 5000 acres of aquaculture waters annually, which may result in severe marine depletion.

Locals are reportedly opposed to the project under discussion. Northern Province fisherman, who are already resisting other

There are Chinese sea cucumber farms in the area. The impoverished fishermen dread perishing.

marine resources and livelihood have been threatened by these farms, and a ban has been demanded. a freeze on such ideas until a thorough examination of the

Environmental and fisherman repercussions of sea cucumber aquaculture community.

Local fishermen from Northern Sri Lanka consider government’s thrust on commercial aquaculture a threat to their livelihoods and land. The
President of the Jaffna Fisheries Federation, Annalingam Annarasa was quoted in the local media saying that the proposed sea cucumber farms will bring more harm than benefit for them. While the government is trying to promote the projects claiming that they will provide jobs for the locals,
fishermen believe that the farms would lead to lasting damage to the local marine ecology on which their livelihoods depend.

Notably, a similar Chinese project in the Kilinochchi district faced stiff opposition in 2021 from local fishermen who objected to the fencing of the land adjoining the sea, restricting access to even locals.

Reacting to the dire need for Chinese investment in the sector, local fisherman counter that present Chinese investments are fewer compared to
the proliferation of some 250 sea cucumber farms in the north in recent years. Annalingam Annarasa alleged that even local investors were not
from the fisher community but were politically well-connected and influential. Allegations around ecological damage due to Chinese projects are not new for Sri Lanka.

Several instances of environmental violations found place in public debates during the construction work on Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport; also known as the world’s emptiest airport project. The airport was built on elephant habitat and the displaced animals are frequently found roaming near the runway. Similarly, environmental impact assessments of the Southern Highway extension and the Colombo Port City project highlighted serious concerns.

The port city project involves large scale land reclamation south of the Colombo harbour and the construction of a new financial district. Coastal communities fear that the construction work by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) will lead to coastal erosion and harm marine life. Incidentally, the CHEC has also shown interest in developing fishery harbours for the state owned Ceylon Fishery Harbour Corporation in Western & Southern Sri Lanka While the present balance of payment problems are making Colombo