Shrimp trawling in the Negombo Lagoon, SriLanka

Photo credit: Tim Huntington (UK – Poseidon)

Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)


Non-motorized shrimp trawler in SriLanka



The Negombo Lagoon which is a large estuarine lagoon is situated in the Gampaha district at around 20 km north of Colombo. The lagoon covers an area of approximately 3,200ha. The source of freshwater lagoon is that is the rivers Dandugam Oya and Ja-ela. The lagoon is connected to the sea through a single narrow opening at its northern end. Other than the lagoon entrance, the water depth within the lagoon is less than 2 m.

The lagoon is characterized its brackish water flora (seaweeds) and some mangrove forests in the northern part with its ecological role in providing spawning, nursing, feeding grounds and shelter for a variety of economically important fish and shrimp species.  The lagoon with its high fish productivity (150 kg/ha/year) supplies the community with a good source of protein as well as employment. Shrimps, crabs, food fish and ornamental fish are the most important organisms to the lagoon fishery.

Several fishing gears are used in the lagoon including trammel nets, cast nets, stake nets, and fyke.

Outside the lagoon, there are the non-mechanized shrimp trawlers (as the one shown in the inserted photo) and the mechanized shrimp trawlers which operate 5–10 km to the south.

The non-mechanized trawlers are operated to a distance up to 5 km north of the lagoon entrance, where the sea depth is less than 12 m. They are operated during day-time where four fishermen go in each boat and the trawl is towed manually.

The main species in the trawl catches are  dobsoni and Parapenaeopsis coromandelica while P. indicus and P. semisulcatus were relatively scarce.




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