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The Impact of COVID-19 on Small-scale Fisheries and Coastal Tourism: A Case Study of Mirissa

Research Papers

The Impact of COVID-19 on Small-scale Fisheries and Coastal Tourism: A Case Study of Mirissa

Naduni Wickramaarachchi
Koushani Amarasinghe

The rapid global spread of COVID-19 had profound social and economic
repercussions. Coastal communities, which were already susceptible to various
social and environmental changes, found themselves further marginalized due to
the virus and the preventive measures enforced by governments. Our understanding
of how COVID-19 impacted the different facets of coastal communities in Sri Lanka
remains limited. To bridge this gap, this study gathered information about the
effects on livelihoods, support from various entities, and the adaptive capabilities
of individuals involved in small-scale fisheries and the tourism sector in Mirissa,
Sri Lanka.

While the findings revealed similarities across both sectors, the small-scale fishery
sector grappled with issues like limited accessibility, income reduction, and
resource constraints. In contrast, the tourism sector experienced adverse effects
such as the loss of income, unemployment, deterioration of property and assets,
and restricted access to workplaces.

The study underscored the necessity for collaborative efforts among the government,
nongovernmental organizations, and local communities to support, mobilize, and
empower small-scale fishing communities and the tourism sector along the coastal
regions. Recognizing the distinct needs of each sector, relief packages should be
tailored to address the specific requirements of these communities. Enhancing
transparency and establishing independent oversight of government sponsored
programs is recommended to ensure impartial distribution. Emphasizing a bottomup
decision-making approach is essential, as local communities possess firsthand
knowledge of their experiences in these intricate situations.

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