Collaborator: Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai, Director, The Wildlife Conservation Society, Fiji
Funder: The Marine Conservation Action Fund of the New England Aquarium
The project kickstarted in July 2020 and is an islandwide endeavour to assess the effects of COVID-19 and the resulting curfew through the eyes of small scale fishers, processors and sellers/traders. The data collection phase of the project ended in August 2020 and a total of 415 surveys were completed from 13 study sites around the coast of Sri Lanka, to understand the impacts.
We believe that there is great value in obtaining data from across the island, as it helps us understand the unique challenges faced by fisherfolk along the diverse coastlines. We worked with 14 enthusiastic research assistants, who were recruited and trained virtually as we were unable to physically bring them together due to the ongoing pandemic.
In the long run, we hope that the findings of this research will provide insights into how best to support these communities in this and any similar situations. In addition, the network of students that the project will create across the coastline will be a valuable resource to gather data and build projects to conserve our coastlines into the future. Furthermore, it would empower students to conserve the marine environment and create local coastal heroes.