Ill-designed Panadura Harbour perilous to fishermen

Published : 10:00 am  October 8, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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Narrowing of breakwater openings in post-tsunami renovation the cause say fishermen

The badly planned construction of the Panadura Harbour has affected the lives and livelihood of fishermen in the area because the mouth of the harbour constantly filled with sand which made it difficult for boats to come into the harbour or leave it.

Situated on the border of the Kalutara and Colombo Districts the harbour was constructed at the Bolgoda River estuary. The first harbour which was constructed in 1998 was destroyed by the tsunami in 2004. Thereafter it was not used for two years and re-opened for use in 2007.

ccd1When built in 1998, the harbour had two break waters (200 metres and 179 metres) protecting the estuary and boats at anchor. However, with the 2007 renovations, the breakwaters were built with narrower openings to the sea.  

Fishermen complained that on a number of occasions their boats had tipped over when returning from sea and also when putting out to sea placing their lives at risk.




We want a permanent solution for this. Not sand  to be moved from one place to dumped within the harbour itself   

Secretary of the Egoda Uyana Fisheries Society Asanka Fernando said the breakwater had been constructed in an ‘inward’ design. “The breakwater curves inwards towards the harbour, and the entrance to the harbour does not open directly to the sea. This makes it difficult to manoeuvre the boats in and out of the harbour,” he said.  

Fernando said that fishermen could not gauge how much of sand was deposited near the entrance of the harbour. “When a boat hits a lot of sand at speed, the front of the boat is thrust upwards and the force of the waves which hit the back of the boat makes it topple into the sea,” he said.  

Some fishermen had died while others were injured. “We would not have experienced these accidents if the opening of the harbour was wider,” he said.  

Jayalal Perera a fisherman said tenders were called for the removal of sand from the harbour entrance  each year. “The person who got the tender last year filled the harbour with sand instead of removing it. We want a permanent solution for this. Not sand to be moved from one place to be dumped within the harbour itself,” he said.  

The Fisheries Harbour Corporation conceded that the harbour was not constructed to a clear plan.  “Its entrance is filled with sand off- season and even though this is something that comes under the purview of the Coastal Conservation Department we will resolve the matter as it relates to fishermen.

We are looking at alternative ways to remove the sand,”a corporation spokesman said.  
Text and pics by Dayarathna Pathirana