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Major issues and constraints faced by the community

Livelihood Development issues in this area

Fishing Communities

"“Periyakallapu (Lagoon) is one of the important ecosystems in the area, providing direct and indirect life-supporting services while maintaining an ecosystem under serious human pressure, overexploitation, and negligence by responsible agencies. There are about 4000 fishermen directly depending on the lagoon. However, the sustenance of lagoon functions is under serious threat due to huge pressures caused by human intervention that prematurely aggravate the natural processes of siltation. Lagoon filling due to siltation, destruction of mangroves, lagoon encroachments for cultivation and settlements, pressure for over-harvesting of lagoon fish and agricultural run-off, and lagoon water pollution are the major threats. The lack of awareness, knowledge, and skills on sustainable livelihoods, limited availability of livelihood options, and poverty among the people are likely to expand further pressure on coastal resources. The local economy around the Periyakalapu is the D.S. of Thirukkovil, Alayadivambo, and Akkaraipattu, which are mainly dependent on agriculture-based activities. Land use patterns show that paddy, coconut, vegetable cultivation, Chena cultivation, animal husbandry, and small industries such as brick-making and marine, lagoon, and inland fishing are the major livelihoods in the area. However, it should also be mentioned that these activities need to be fixed, as observed in other parts of the country's adjacent regions. During the last 3 decades of the prevailing civil unrest, the local inhabitants have been denied access to income-generating activities. Therefore, the tsunami (December 2004) was a devastating blow to the poor community. It has washed away the lives of their family members, who had been supporting their families and properties, and limited livelihood opportunities, which had been just enough for their survival. Fishermen still use the traditional method of fishing. Nowadays, fishing is expensive, and most fishermen need to buy nets, small boats, and other fishing tools .

Fishing communities in rural villages of the Ampara District face several challenges.

Climate Change and Environmental Degradation.

Climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and extreme weather events, threaten coastal ecosystems and fisheries. Environmental degradation, including pollution and habitat destruction, can also affect fish populations and the livelihoods of fishermen.

Lack of Access to Fishing Gear and Technology:

Many fishermen in rural villages may need access to modern fishing gear, equipment, and technology, which can improve efficiency and productivity. Traditional fishing methods may be less effective and yield lower catches, limiting fishermen's income.

Inadequate Infrastructure and Facilities:

Poor infrastructure, including adequate harbours, landing sites, storage facilities, and market access, can help the efficiency of fishing operations and post-harvest activities. Limited access to ice plants and cold storage facilities may also affect the quality and marketability of fish products.​

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Safety at Sea:

TFishermen face risks and hazards while working at sea, including accidents, injuries, and loss of life. Inadequate safety measures, lack of proper training, and outdated or poorly maintained vessels contribute to maritime safety concerns among fishermen in rural villages.

Market Challenges

Fishermen may need help to access markets or obtain fair prices for their catch, particularly in remote rural areas. Limited market information, intermediaries exploitation, and lack of bargaining power can affect fishing activities' profitability and fishermen's income.

Regulatory Constraints

Fishing regulations and policies, including licensing requirements, seasonal closures, and restricted fishing zones, may impact the livelihoods of fishermen in rural villages. Compliance with laws and enforcement efforts can sometimes be challenging, leading to conflicts and tensions between authorities and fishermen.

Socioeconomic Vulnerability:

Fishermen and their families may experience socioeconomic vulnerability, including poverty, food insecurity, and limited access to social services such as healthcare and education. Dependence.

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