Sri Lanka lagoon set for tourist development

Tiny flying fish glint as our boat is pushed off from the shore with a long stick to get us through the mud and seaweed. The motor is fired up and we head for one of the 14 islands lining a beautiful lagoon in the Kalpitiya region of western Sri Lanka.

The water is pale blue-green; the heat, even early in the morning, intense.

Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote Earlier we could go anywhere to fish – now they've restricted us by starting to build hotels everywhere” Jude Dayalan Fisherman in Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka These slender, sandy islets lie between lagoon and open sea, a haunt of dolphin and dugong (sea-cow). We land near the tip of the longest island, Mohothtuwarama, nicknamed Dutch Bay Island, and meet three fishermen heaving their boat into the ocean.

They show us some small sharks and other fish they have caught. But the three – Jude Dayalan, Antony Regan and Rexi Manoj – are anxious about what is happening half a kilometre away. A grand plan is being implemented to open 17 hotels on these islands, with 10,000 beds for tourists – equal roughly to the local population.