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, 40 (5), 727-38

Marine Protected Areas in Sri Lanka: A Review


Marine Protected Areas in Sri Lanka: A Review

Nishan Perera et al. Environ Manage.


Despite the popularity of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a management tool, increasing evidence shows that many fail to achieve conservation objectives. Although several MPAs exist in Sri Lanka, most are not managed, and resource extraction and habitat degradation continue unabated. At present, the declaration and management of MPAs is carried out without adequate consideration of the ecology, socioeconomic realities, or long-term management sustainability. Managers have focused more toward the creation of new legislation and protected areas rather than ensuring the implementation of existing regulations and management of existing protected areas. Poor coordination and a lack of serious political will have also hindered successful resource management. As in other developing countries, MPA managers have to contend with coastal communities that are directly dependant on marine resources for their subsistence. This often makes it unfeasible to exclude resource users, and MPAs have failed to attract necessary government support because many politicians are partial toward the immediate needs of local communities for both economic and political reasons. A more integrated approach, and decisions based on the analysis of all relevant criteria combined with a concerted and genuine effort toward implementing strategies and achieving predetermined targets, is needed for effective management of MPAs and the sustainable use of marine resources in Sri Lanka.

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