[November 01 2015]
Original Article at Sunday Observer: Link
Sri Lanka, known for its well-established whale watching industry, will take up a study on whales.
This was decided by the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers which met in Pandang, Indonesia, during October 20-23. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, represented Sri Lanka.
The research project, called the non-economic value of the whale watching industry in Sri Lanka, would cover issues concerning conservation and management. The IORA Centre of Excellence, housed at the Institute of Policy Studies, would take up the study, Grace Asirwatham, Director General (Economic Affairs Division) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.
Referring to concerns over the existence of whales in the light of the increased shipping and human activities, the official expressed the hope that the research would deal with such issue too. Pointing out that Australia had also shown interest in taking part in the project, Asirwatham said, the International Whaling Commission would be involved in the study, the findings of which would be shared with other member-countries of the IORA.
The Association would approve a sum of US$ 50,000, which would be sufficient only to host the workshop, Asirwatham said, pointing out that the study would need a lot of money as foreign experts had to be engaged. Hindu