Fishermen celebrate (pic: NAFSO)
The fishing community around Negombo Lagoon in Sri Lanka have received good news about the controversial tourism project which they’ve been protesting against since October.
The Sri Lankan government has announced that it will re-think the project, which looked likely to cause a huge reduction in fish stock in the lagoon.
Since October, CAFOD partner NAFSO (National Fisheries Solidarity Movement) has been heavily involved in protests against the government’s plan to dredge Negombo lagoon and to build landing platforms for sea-planes.
Alongside the damage it could have caused to the environment, the project threatened to leave many locals without a means of making a living: thousands of families depend on fishing as their main source of income.
Tourism can be a very good thing for Sri Lanka. But the authorities need to consult local people before giving the go-ahead to projects like this one.
Several Catholic priests joined the protests, and Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, appealed to the government to listen to the fishworkers’ concerns.
“Tourism can be a very good thing for Sri Lanka,” said Olwen Maynard, CAFOD Programme Support Officer for Sri Lanka, “but the authorities need to consult local people before giving the go-ahead to projects like this one. We’re delighted that the grassroots campaign supported by NAFSO has persuaded the government to think again.”