Community-based Shrimp Aquaculture in Northwestern Sri Lanka

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University of Manitoba

This thesis investigates small-scale community-based shrimp aquaculture (CBSA) in northwestern Sri Lanka. The objectives are to explore: (1) community-based shrimp aquaculture; (2) commons institutions and application of commons rules; and (3) policy implications (i.e., as an alternative to large-scale operations in ensuring sustainability). Data were gathered from three communities in northwestern Sri Lanka, through participant observations; semi-structured interviews; focus group discussions; and key informant interviews.

Presence of small-scale community-based institutions is evident. Arguably, commons in this context are social-ecological systems, including the interconnected natural water body. Main characteristics of the existing resource governance system are multi-level commons institutional structure; zonal crop calendar system; collaborative/participatory management approach; and better management practices. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis proves the viability of existing CBSA. This thesis recognizes CBSA as an alternative approach to large-scale aquaculture operations to ensure sustainability in the long run.