Last month, a distressing image of shark carcasses on a fisher’s boat said to be in the vicinity of the Pigeon Island Marine National Park, was widely circulated on social media. Public outrage prompted a response from State Minister of Fisheries, Kanchana Wijesekera, who tweeted that officials from the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources would be investigating allegations of illegal shark fishing in Trincomalee. While results of that investigation have not yet been made public, the shark killing left a trail of questions regarding the protection of shark species in Sri Lanka.
The plastic pellets that continue to litter Sri Lanka’s coastlines are a bleak reminder of the fire that broke out on board the MV X-Press Pearl in late May. Although the fire has been long subdued, the resulting maritime disaster — widely perceived to be the worst Sri Lanka has ever faced — is far from over. The billions of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) pellets that the distressed vessel was transporting turned the island’s picturesque beaches, once teeming with life, into wastelands.
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