Written by Zulfick Farzan
11 Apr, 2021 | 2:15 am
Colombo (News 1st); At the invitation of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne Minister of Youth & Sports, Honorable Namal Rajapaksa declared open the ‘Blue Beach Island Underwater Gallery’ at Nilwella beach on Saturday (10th April 2021). Built with the contribution of Sri Lanka Navy, this latest addition in the southern coast of Nilwella, would from here on attract more local and foreign holidaymakers towards this popular tourist destination.
The project had been set in motion after taking a wide array of matters into consideration. Among them; prevention of harmful effects on marine animals, plants and corals due to natural and human activities, protection of the marine ecosystem, creation of an artificial fish breeding environment, provision of artificial substrates for coral reefing and offering a magnificent site for scuba divers were chief. This mega project was propelled by the Navy in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and State Ministry of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish, Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multiday Fishing Activities and Fish Exports.
Following the directives of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne and close supervision of Commander Southern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Priyantha Perera, naval personnel designed this spectacular Underwater Gallery which reflects of a 100m long and 40m wide model town beneath the surface.
As this neck of the woods is known to be a popular tourist destination, a number of local and foreign Diving Enthusiast often make here to be mesmerized by the exquisiteness of underwater. Bringing a whole new experience to the avid divers, this latest “Blue Beach Island Underwater Gallery” had been created, as an attractive prospect of the country. Meanwhile, this underwater gallery includes sculptures, structures and other artifacts moulded by eco friendly materials, discarded vehicles and aircraft as well as artificial substrates specially designed for coral growing. Some of the models here are made by small pieces of rock so that seaweeds and corals can easily grow on those surfaces and create an environment conducive to natural fish breeding in a very short period of time.
Apart from the scuba divers, this attractive site, located at the depth from 04 to 10 meters, can be easily viewed by snorkeling and plying by dinghies with glass bottoms.
Transformation of the underwater environment into a conducive setting for fish breeding will have the potential to be of great benefit in the future, and the Sri Lanka Navy is constantly ready to make its professional skills and capabilities available for such timely environmental projects.
Sri Lanka Navy was well supported by a number of state and private organizations in carrying out this major project. Meanwhile, the opening ceremony was also attended by Southern Province Governor, Hon. Willy Gamage, State Minister of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish & Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multi day Fishing Activities and Fish Exports, Hon. Kanchana Wijesekera, government officials, Commander Southern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Priyantha Perera and a group of naval personnel.
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