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 0n 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.


Both the parties argued the case on 28.09.2022 and the Judgement was served on 13.12.2022.

After being aggrieved by the said judgment, EFL appealed to the Supreme Court in 2023 with case No. SC/SPL/LA/25/2023.

The case was supported by EFL on 29.03.2023 and the Special Leave to Appeal was granted. The court fixed the case for Argument on 01.11.2023.

(Image Credits: Green Queen)