Sri Lanka – Fish Forever

Whilst the subject of fish dominated the final throws of the BREXIT negotiations in the UK, Sri Lanka has been equally appreciative of its local fishing way of life during the recent COVID-19 period. The pandemic has left the 400,000 travel and tourism employees and families without an income as passenger flights and ship arrivals into the island have been barred since 18th March 2020.

Fishing is one of the island’s oldest sustainable business occupations, normally employing 600,000 people (10% of working population). With the heartbeat of many coastal communities embracing the prolific array of endemic freshwater, marine and brackish fauna for millennia. It offers a staple diet to all, with access to over hundred local fish species and abundance of crustaceans including lobster, crab, crayfish and prawn. Shellfish options are also abundant with clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels beside squid, octopus, and snail.

Larger fresh-fish markets, as well as small family stalls, thrive across every community up and down the coasts. Constantly offering an explosion of delicious fresh-as-you-like seafood selections.

As these photos show the abundance of choice, even in small street side stalls, is prolific.

Quite rightly, Sri Lanka is regularly regarded as home to the best seafood in the Indian Ocean. Boosted further recently, thanks to the end of the island’s 30-year-war, with further access to 65% of the previously unreachable local coastline which runs parallel to the industry’s 10% growth rate rise since 2012.

So, rest assured as the island this week prepares finally to welcome back its first visitors in eight months, whether you are looking to cook a devilled tuna with fish cutlet or concoct a squid and Jaffna crab curry, a local fresh catch will be ready and waiting around most coastal corners.

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