To meet the demanding tourism and fisheries development activities, the government is to rename the Coast Conservation Department, as the Coast Conservation and Coastal Resources Management Department under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development by making new provisions to the Coast Conservation Act of 1981 and expanding its sphere of duties that is intended to strengthening its authority in developing and protecting the coastal belt of the country.
According to the department, the coastal regions are home to a large and growing population in Sri Lanka. The high concentration of population has produced many economic benefits from the coastal resources, in particular from fishing, tourism, and maritime activities.
A senior officer of the department said that by revising the act the government intends that these important activities in the coastal zone will continue without facing many difficulties.
“Improving the status of coastal environment, developing and managing the shoreline, improving the living standards of coastal communities and promoting and facilitating economic development based upon coastal resources are the main objectives of the department,” she said.
The department would also support development activities to create transportation links, developing industrial and urban centres in the coastal zone.
In the new amendment, the department had also raised fines against individuals and companies which do not get the required permits for constructions in the coastal zone.
“We will also create awareness among policemen in implementing law and order in the costal zone. We will also need to increase our human resources as we are now authorized to protect the coastal belt with new powers and capabilities,” the senior officer said.
In 1981, parliament enacted the Coast Conservation Act No. 57 of 1981 to make provision for a survey of the coastal zone and the preparation of a Coastal Zone Management Plan, to regulate and control development activities within the coastal zone; to make provision for the formulation and execution of schemes of work for coast conservation within the coastal zone. (Supun Dias)