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Issue No:85
  • :0976 1121
  • :May
  • :2021

Samudra Report No.85, May 2021


Sri Lanka / COVID-19

A Beacon of Trust

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the fisher economy of Sri Lanka, leaving households indebted and distressed, co-operatives emerged as a beacon for the small-scale fishing sector’s well-being

This article is by Oscar Amarasinghe (, Chancellor, Ocean University of Sri Lanka and President- Sri Lanka Forum for Small Scale Fisheries (SLFSSF), Sri Lanka

Close to 350,000 kg of fish is brought everyday to the Peliyagoda Central Fish market, on the outskirts of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka Three thousand sellers sit, jostle and haggle in close proximity at the central hub for retailers to collect and disperse their produce to various parts of the country. This hub of market activity was hit with the worst crisis in its history when 19 cases of COVID-19 were discovered in its premises in October last year. The authorities shut down the market at once.

However, even before the industry had barely recovered from its first hit, Sri Lanka’s second wave of the pandemic began. The second wave started with the emergence of a COVID cluster at a garment factory, followed by the Peliyagoda fish market cluster. The latter had the most calamitous impact on fisheries. Several major fishing harbours and a number of other...

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