Bottom Trawling


The Puttalam estuary is a highly productive ecosystem sustaining wealth of resources including economically valuable fish and shellfish species, seagrasses and mangrove habitats that provide homes to charismatic marine mammals. The estuary also has a significant conservation value since the Bar Reef Marine Sanctuary and Wilpattu Ramsar cluster are located towards its north.

From about the year 2018 EFL came to learn that illegal bottom trawling was being carried out in the Puttalam estuary and continues up to this date despite the banning of such activities by the Fisheries and Aquatic Resource (Amendment) Act No. 11 of 2017.

EFL filed a Writ Application on 18.12.2020 to enforce the law and to protect the sensitive environment of Puttalam estuary from illegal bottom trawling which is an immensely destructive method of fishing that has the effect of bulldozing the estuary bed/seabed and thereby causing irreversible damage to the estuary bed/seabed, catching endangered seas species, depleting fish stocks, plant life among other adverse consequences.

On 13.12.2022 the Judgement was served in the Court of Appeal and being aggrieved by the said judgment, EFL appealed to the Supreme Court in 2023.


When the application was called on 29th of March 2023, the application was supported by Mr. Geoffrey Alagaratnam Attorney-at-Law and the State Counsel made applications as well. The Supreme Court granted Leave to Appeal and the application was fixed for Arguments on 1st of November 2023. When the application was called on the 1st of November 2023, the State Counsel requested the Court to re-fix the application due to a personal difficulty to appear and therefore, the application was re-fixed for Arguments for the 03rd of April 2024.

(Image Credits: Green Queen)