Sri Lanka aims to save last reef on south coast

Oct 01, 2009 (LBO) – A coral reef described as the last remaining living, extensive reef on Sri Lanka’s south coast was cleaned up in an effort where international and local agencies worked together, the ministry of fisheries said. The initiative aims to improve the quality and condition of the Kapparathota coral reef in Weligama Bay, the fisheries ministry said in a statement.

Most coral reef habitats in the southern coast have been seriously degraded, posing a significant risk to the sustainable continuity of the fisheries industry, it said.

“High pollution levels and physical damage to coral reefs have lowered their potential to recover.

“Efforts are underway and will continue through this clean up programme to save the Kapparathota Coral Reef, which is the last remaining living, extensive reef in the southern coast.”

The ministry said the clean up will contribute to the sustainable management of marine resources in Sri Lanka and ensure that many species dependent on the marine habitat are protected.

Coral reefs including those in Sri Lanka were affected in 1998 during the widespread coral bleaching event and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

“Their recovery has been slow and variable,” the statem