Colombo's fake mangroves for export destroy fishing-ecosystem of Eezham Tamils in East

[TamilNet, Sunday, 18 February 2018, 18:42 GMT]
Occupying Colombo's “National Aquaculture Development Authority” (NAQDA) has deployed Sinhala-owned companies from South to engage in “fake mangrove” production along the northern coast of Batticaloa. The fake mangroves, made with cement blocks, are systematically sunk along the coast of Kaayaang-kea'ni affecting both the natural mangroves and the fishing environment of native Tamil fisherfolks, A.M. Anton, the chairperson of the fisheries association at Kaayaang-kea'ni told TamilNet this week. The fake stones are dug up after 6 to 8 months and exported to the USA before the next wave of artificial layer gets spread over the natural mangroves.

Kaayangkea'ni fake mangroves

While some fisheries authorities were installing large structures for improving the fishing ecosystem at selected locations, the NAQDA-backed activity of spraying smaller stones chained together was, in fact, decreasing the quality of the ecosystem, the fisheries society leader said.

At least 8,000 artificial stones were produced in Kaayaang-kea'ni alone during 2017, Mr Anton further said.

Those who oppose the exploitation have been silenced by former paramilitary operatives of the occupying Sinhala military.

Some organisations that voiced against the exploitation in the past were also silenced through large sums of bribery by the Sinhala exporters, informed civil sources in the district said.

The native Eezham Tamil fisherfolk in Kaayaang-kea'ni, are of the opinion that there was no political power to safeguard themselves against such exploitation.

Kaayangkea'ni fake mangroves
Fake mangroves being transported from Kaayaang-kea'ni to South for export

Such exploitation would not have been possible had the de-facto administration of Tamil Eelam, which was made possible through the power of military balance of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), continued to exist, they commented.

On the one hand, occupying Colombo's authorities talk of ‘development’ and ‘sustainable development’. But, on the other hand, they exploit the natural resources and promote the businesses owned by Sinhala businesses from South, they said. The SL authorities were also trying to bring Sinhala-Buddhist colonisation to their village by attempting to erect a Buddha temple in the past.

Kaayaang-kea'ni is a Tamil village located 115 km north of Batticaloa city and comes under the Koa'ra'lap-pattu North (Vaakarai) administrative division. It was under SL military occupation for a long time, even during the times of the LTTE.

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