A request has been made to remove the ban on the fishing of ‘Rathu Lawaya’ or ‘Thambuwa’ (Cephalopholis sonnerati), Hambantota Fisheries Harbor’s Fishermen Association Chairman G.A. Sumith Kumara said.
He said that these fish, which are abundant in the seabed of the Hambantota Coastal areas, are currently worth about Rs.5,000 per kilo, and they can earn foreign exchange by sending these fish to countries like China and Japan.
Thambuwa fishing was banned about five years ago on scientific grounds that it could lead to extinction of red shrimps and damage coral reefs. It is said that red shrimp feed on the excrement of Thambuwa.
Since these fish live near coral reefs, oceanographers said that it is not possible to prevent damage to coral reefs when fishing.
On 11-10-2017, the Department of Lands and Aquatic Resources issued an extraordinary gazette 2014/4 No.29 prohibiting the fishing, keeping, selling and exporting of Thambuwa (Cephalopholis sonnerati).
This large fish of about 2 feet in length lives in rocky coral reefs and is carnivorous.