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Sri Lankan Fishermen’s Struggle Amid Economic Crisis

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Fishermen of fishing town Negombo, Sri Lanka feeling a blow by the recent economic crisis in the island nation. Fishermen who always had been in the lower socio-economic strata in the country are now more and more struggling to keep their necks above water.

Aloysius, a fisherman in the fishing village Negombo told that they can no longer sustain using motor boats as recently the fuel prices skyrocketed beyond reach. One daily trip to the fishing grounds nearly has tripled in cost during this year. Aloysius is now forced to use his cast net at the beach, catching random fish to sell to nearby hotels to make a living instead of using his motorboat to catch big fish.

Fishermen and their families depend on coastal fisheries and tourism on the beaches in Sri Lanka for their livelihood. Recently the island nation had hardly been hit by the downfall of the tourism industry and fewer international tourists landed on its beaches. Small-time vendors near the beaches who sold ornaments and fried fish to tourists now find it difficult to do their business.

Even the beachside hoteliers are complaining about the fewer numbers of tourists and they are heavily relying on local tourists. Middle-class locals find that heavy inflation has marginalized their disposable income and they find it hard to afford the hotel prices. Weekend beachside getaways for families are now becoming more difficult to afford.

Given the pristine beauty of beaches and beachside shipping villages, it seems Sri Lanka has to get a strategy going to promote the tourism industry in the coming season. Also, the coastal fisheries should be given attention by authorities to make their livelihood feasible.