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Rekawa Lagoon


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Author Topic: Rekawa Lagoon  (Read 651 times)
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« on: March 13, 2010, 04:13:15 am »

The early morning sun seeps through the mahongany-lined windows of the Rekawa Lagoon bungalow, called Asiri. Owned by a prominent lawyer, the bungalow has been a stopover and a holiday getaway for many who come to see the turtles nesting at the Turtle Conservation Project at Rekawa. We arrived just before sunset and took in the sights and sounds of the Rekawa Lagoon which can be seen from the bungalow. The oru ‘boats’ decorating the edge of the sandy lagoon shore and the tresses of mangrove bushes deeply rooted in the lagoon water, make it a heavenly wildlife sanctuary.
Yonder we saw some fisherfolk working tirelessly before the last of the sun rays disappeared forever heralding the beginning of the night. They swooped their nets over the lagoon to catch their last batch of lagoon finfish like Anabas testudineus, Channa orientalis, Etroplus suratensis, Hyporanphus limbatus, Oreochromis spp., and Anchoviella spp. and we could see some getting ready to set their prawn entrapments in time for the night fishing to lure three species like Penaeus indicus, Metapenaeus monoceros and Penaeus monodon by light from the lanterns. The cool breeze and calm ripples of the waves eased our travelling woes and we relaxed on the cement verandah bench to catch our breath.
Not forgetting to take plenty of photographs, we then proceeded to take sunset shots in a picturesque scenery. According to the Sri Lanka Wetlands Database, even though it is referred to as a lagoon, Rekawa is a shallow brackish water estuary, a freshwater destination where the Kirama Oya connects to the sea via two outlets, one of which is natural in Kapuhenwela and the other a man made canal in Medilla.
The marvellous mangroves, together with coral reefs and five species of globally threatened marine turtles in nearby coastal waters give high biological value to the lagoon and surrounding environment. Manual breaching of the lagoon mouth during the rainy season controls flooding. The opening of the mouth sustains the shrimp fishery, as the shrimp larvae enters the lagoon during this period. Nearly 6000 people comprising 1300 families make Rekawa their home and out of this number, 50% are engaged in sea and lagoon fishing while others opt to work in agriculture.
There are many who work with the Turtle Conservation Project to eke out a living which can see them anything from turtle nest protectors to batik and coir artistes in addition to doing tour guiding for many of the tourists who come to watch the five species of turtles who come to the Rekawa beach to nest.
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