The National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) yesterday said it would soon send its recommendations to the Ministry of Fisheries to ban the killing of Humphead fish in Sri Lanka.
Recent killing of this species was reported in the Unawatuna area because pictures of killing a Humphead went viral on social media recently.
NARA’s Marine Biology division head Dr. Sisira Haputantri said the fish Humphead Wrasse scientifically identified as Cheilinus Undulates is listed as an endangered species category in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species.
He further said that Sri Lanka had not yet implemented a law against killing this fish.
“Dr. Sisira Haputantri said the Humphead Wrasse one of the largest living member of the family Labridaeis an enormous coral reef fish-growing over six feet long-with a prominent bulge on its forehead and it is a very rare fish that was identified as an endangered fish. The fish could be seen in Sri Lanka’s coral reef sea water areas but is nowhere common.”
“Spear fishing which is the greatest threat that these fish facing, in many areas of the country. Unfortunately no regulation has been implemented yet to save this fish. But we will send our recommendation immediately to the Ministry of Fisheries to implement such a rule as a measure to save this species”, he said.
“Spear fishing activities using spear guns also should be banned and the law should be armed with sufficient regulations to save these endangered species,” he said.
Speaking on the matter, Department of the Wild Life Conservation Deputy General (Law) , S P A G B. Samarakoon confirmed that no regulation had been passed so far to protect these species but they have identified the need and working on to implement one in near future.
According to the Wild Life’s Fauna and Flora protection (Amendment) Act, No. 22 of 2009 this variety of fish has not been listed as an endangered species in Sri Lanka.
However, the Daily Mirror learns that the there is a sudden hike in fish hunting specially involving big ornamental fish which has a demand in the international market.
Cap – A Humphead Wrasse which was hunted during spearfishing activities in a private diving centre in Unawatuna.