Tourism Minister instructs to lift restrictions imposed on Mirissa whale watching boats

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has instructed the authorities to take steps to lift the restrictions imposed by the Wildlife Department on the Mirissa Whale Watching boat tour operators ensuring that whale watching tourists are not hindered while whales are not harmed.

Media and social media reports have recently revealed that the Wildlife Department has recently imposed restrictions on whale watching vessels off the coast of Mirissa.

Accordingly, Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga had summoned the representatives of the Mirissa Tour Boat Owners’ Association to Colombo for a discussion and also summoned the heads of the Wildlife Department.

The owners of the Mirissa whale watching boats raised their concerns and pointed out that wildlife officials only allow whale watching after 2 pm. Whales are most often seen in early morning.

Wildlife officials responded that the decision was made because of various problems. They also pointed out that the lack of necessary officers was another reason.

Minister Prasanna Ranatunga immediately contacted the Matara District Secretary by phone and requested that ten employees who had been recruited under the 100,000 employment program be attached for this purpose and the District Secretary has agreed.

Improving the facilities of the Mirissa Fisheries Harbor for local and foreign tourists visiting Mirissa for whale watching were also discussed at length.

Addressing the State Minister of Fisheries Kanchana Wijesekera, Minister Ranatunga also discussed the action to be taken in this regard.

Accordingly, it was decided to convene a meeting of Ministers and officials of the Ministries of Tourism, Fisheries and Wildlife and expedite the resolution of issues related to whale watching in the Mirissa seas. The Minister instructed the Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism to take necessary steps for that.

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