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 of the Sri Lankan government, said on Wednesday.
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.
A workshop would be held and as the season for whale watching would be between December and March, the authorities were keen on having the meet before March.
Pointing out that Australia had also shown interest in taking part in the project, Ms. Asirwatham said 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 $ 50,000, which would be sufficient only to host the workshop, Ms. Asirwatham said, pointing out that the study would need a lot of money as foreign experts had to be engaged. The Commission was expected to provide its contribution for the study, she added.