A Preliminary Analysis of the Reef Fishery in the Associated Coastal Waters of the Puttalam Estuarine System
P.A.A.T. JAYAWARDANE and P. DAYARATNE
A study was conducted on the Reef Fishery in the coastal waters off Puttalam estuarine system from October 1993 to September 1994. Fishing operations were mainly carried out by using 5-5.5 m FRP boats. In addition a few traditional log rafts were also engaged in exploiting the resource.
. Bottom set gillnets are the most widely used gear in the reef fishery. The other fishing gear such as trammel nets and handlines are also used seasonally in the study area to exploit the demersal fish resources. The mesh size of the bottom set gillnets used ranged from 31-178 mm while that of the trammel nets 22-100 mm,
Total catch, effort and catch per unit effort showed seasonal variations. The highest average catch rate of 40.2 kg boat-1 day-1 and the highest total catch of 77.3 kg boat-1 day-1 was recorded in February for FRP/Handline combination. During the study period, the highest monthly production was observed in February 1994 (190 tonnes). February to June could be considered as the peak period for the fishery.
Except for the handlines target species of the most of the gear (gillnets, trammel nets) is lobsters. However along with the lobsters, emperor fishes, sweetlips and carangids made significant contribution to the total production of the reef fishery.