First it was Yala, then gradually the other National Parks, and now it is the Whales, and I don’t know countless other traditions, and skills have been killed off along the way in the Sri Lankan version of development.
We HAVE NOT still taken the simple step of restricting entry to Yala to just 200 vehicles and 1000 people a day. There is NO other way to obtain a balance between man and nature, and HOW you do it is up to Policy makers, whether it is by auction, a hybrid of lottery and auction, (remember then the lottery winners will auction their ticket to the highest bidder too) or some other method so that the animals and humans will both be able to enjoy the spectacle of GOD.
In the same light, it is only recently that we have begun to exploit the richness of the seas around us. GOD has been kind enough to give us the chance of allowing the greatest number of Blue Whales that are concentrated in one place on the face of the earth. What we do with it is up to man. This bounty is such that man has not found a method to balancing this windfall, without destroying it.
So who must step in? In all cases when man’s greed gets the better of him, that is when we need a state to mandate rules, so that this windfall is available for future generations too, and not just the present to squeeze every ounce of life there is to from it, so their own self aggrandizement or riches! However one defines it.
It is with that in mind that I propose that the whole matter of Whale watching in Mirissa, just like dolphin watching and whale watching in Kalpitiya or Trincomalee, take some form of state intervention to ensure that this tourist treasure is managed for the greater good of man and beast!
What I propose is just one persons idea from a moments visit, and putting the heads of experts on the subject will better create a lasting and balanced solution.
Any number of sail boats with NO engines to be permitted in the area so both rich and poor alike can enjoy. For the armchair tourist from whom the dollar signs are most, two large ships be given exclusive rights, well regulated as to how they observe, and the proximity to animals. The license will be auctioned to two bidders who will then compete with each other for quality service and price, and they then charge for the daily outings, which will raise about Rs50M to the state coffers for the privilege whilst not preventing the truly dedicated rich and poor, in two hulled catamarans from enjoying the show.
I am told that Sri Lanka boat builders have built the double hulled sailing boat in the picture that can just be moored on the whale watching site and stay in one place while the whales frolic about not disturbing the whales at all, and not creating waves of destruction, and waves on the sea that make the traveler sea sick either!
The details and photos of the Mirissa Whale Watching Trip are shown in the Blog entry on 31st December 2015