I’m a student at Ocean University of Sri Lanka and currently working as a researcher at Oceanswell and the Bertarelli Marine Programme. Primarily, I collect data at two landing sites in the west coast of Sri Lanka; Beruwala and Negombo. Field data collection is highly varied and encompasses household surveys, focus groups, value chain interviews, key informant interviews, and landing surveys. Other roles include training, transcription and quality assurance of data.
Shark fisheries are an extremely sensitive issue within Sri Lanka as strict regulations are in place for management and conservation of the resource. Therefore, obtaining reliable socio-economic data from stakeholders is highly challenging and we use a variety of specialised techniques and have worked extensively on building trust and relationships. Currently, myself and the wider team work cooperatively with local stakeholders in order to provide invaluable insights about fisher objectives and incentives.
By increasing our understanding of socioeconomic reliance on sharks we can improve the effectiveness of conservation strategies whilst ensuring the well-being of dependants. Our research will therefore further the understanding of the fishery and help protect the species better.