a group of villagers pulling a Fishing Net in a Fishing Village in Sri Lanka!
Pulling a Fishing Net in a Fishing Village in Sri Lanka!

The beautiful island of Sri Lanka is blessed with the coastline around the country, as well as many reservoirs and lakes. So, the natural marvels in the country itself have provided the perfect atmosphere for inland fishing as well as deep-sea fishing. Besides, the abundance of fish around the island has made seafood an indispensable item in Sri Lankan cuisine. With all these factors, the fishing industry in Sri Lanka remains well-established and many innocent Sri Lankans make their living out of it. Therefore, there are many fishing villages in Sri Lanka, and they indeed reveal to the world one different aspect of the Sri Lankan lives.

As you may already know, this commercial industry is based on catching, preparing and selling fish on large scales. Fish from the Sri Lankan seas are fresh and rich in nutrients. Thus, there is always a huge market for Sri Lankan fish and seafood products from all over the world. As a whole, the fishing industry contributes a lot to the country’s food supply and the economy as well. Besides, there is a very unique and interesting culture and lifestyle in these fishing villages. Therefore, we thought of sharing with you some interesting facts about fishing villages in Sri Lanka. Continue reading!

Fishing Villages in Sri Lanka

Simply, as the blue waves surround this island, there are many fishing villages in Sri Lanka. However, some of them remain significant. So, if you love to get a glimpse of the fishing industry in Sri Lanka, you should definitely pay a visit to one of these villages.

Here are some such fishing villages that you should consider visiting during your Sri Lankan tour.

  1. Negombo
  2. Galle
  3. Dondra
  4. Jaffna
  5. Chilaw
  6. Beruwala

Scroll down to get to know about these fishing villages in detail.

1. Negombo

Negombo is one of the most popular fishing villages in the country. It is also one of the largest open-air fishing markets located in Sri Lanka.

It is situated on the west coast of the country. The distance from Colombo to Negombo is just 37 kilometres. You’ll be able to reach Negombo from Colombo within half an hour. Besides, Negombo is just a few miles away from the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake.

Negombo is basically a traditional fishing village filled with local fishermen. Hence, this is one of the best destinations to get a clear view of the culture and the lifestyle woven around the fishing industry in Sri Lanka.

Negombo is also the ideal place to buy super fresh seafood. Besides, one of the most interesting activities to do in Negombo is to see how local fishermen work on the beach. In fact, the sandy beaches of Negombo get really busy when the fishermen bring their daily harvest. Every morning, you can see all sorts of fish and how customers rush to the beach to buy the freshest fish. This noisy and vibrant atmosphere at the Negombo beach is an interesting sight to see.

In order to take a closer look at the culture and the lifestyle surrounding the Negombo fishing village, you can arrange a bicycle tour in the village. If so, you will be able to see how the fishermen spend their day and the hardships they go through to earn a living. However, during your cycling tour, don’t forget to have a little chat with the locals to get to know more about their lifestyle.

Furthermore, if you are into photography, you can find many amazing subjects to capture some iconic photographs. So, Negombo is a must-visit fishing village when you are exploring Sri Lanka.

2. Galle

Galle is another destination where you can have an unforgettable fishing village experience. Nevertheless, Galle is a favourite spot for many tourists visiting Sri Lanka.

It is the main city and the most popular town on the southern coast. There are several fishing villages off the coast of Galle. You can visit one such fishing village to get a glimpse of the traditional fishing lifestyle. You can even arrange a fishing tour in Galle where you can get the experience of a local fisherman.

These fishing villages get really busy in the mornings due to the fishermen who went out fishing the previous night. From then on, you’ll be able to see various activities related to the fishing industry in Galle beach. While exploring the city, you would even be able to catch the sight of stilt fishermen, mostly in the evenings. You can even try stilt fishing, and it would surely be a challenging activity for you. Besides, you will be surprised to see all types of traditional and modern boats parked at a stretch on the gorgeous beaches of Galle.

Further, there are many star class hotels in Galle. The chefs from these hotels buy super fresh seafood from the Galle market. Hence, Galle hotels are famous for their delicious seafood dishes as well.

As you may already know, Galle is situated 124 kilometres away from Colombo. You’ll be able to reach Galle within 2 hours from Colombo.

After all, it will be a unique experience to spend a day with local fishermen in a beautiful fishing village in Galle. So, make sure you visit Galle as you travel in Sri Lanka.

3. Dondra Fishing Village

Dondra is the southernmost point of Sri Lanka. There is a calm and quiet fishing village situated in Dondra. There isn’t a large commercial harbour in Dondra as in other fishing villages mentioned here. But still, it’s a historically and culturally important fishing village in the country.

The Dondra Lighthouse is the most popular tourist attraction close to the Dondra fishing village. This architectural monument which is the tallest in the country brings a lot of attention to the nearby fishing village. Anyway, fishing was the primary source of income for the villagers in Dondra for centuries. This small and quiet fishing village is a must-visit in the southern province as it will be a totally new experience for your vacation in Sri Lanka. The beautiful coastline of Dondra will come as a bonus with your visit to the fishing village there.

The deep-sea off the coast of the medium-sized fishing port out there is famous for whales. So you can also join in for a whale watching tour while you are visiting the Dondra fishing village. Besides, the fishing market of Dondra Port is well-known in the area for its availability of fresh seafood. The fishing community of the area works really hard to earn a daily wage.

Dondra is situated very close to the famous cities of Matara and Mirissa. The distance between Colombo and Dondra fishing village is 159 kilometres. You’ll be able to reach Dondra within 2 and half hours from Colombo via the Southern expressway. The easiest option to reach Dondra is taking a bus from the Colombo Fort. If you don’t like travelling by public transportation, you can always arrange a taxi or a vehicle from the airport itself.

4. Jaffna

The fishing villages on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka are very popular. Nevertheless, there are huge fishing villages on the Northern coast of Sri Lanka as well. Myliddy is one such small fishing village situated in Jaffna.

This village is a place where you can experience the activities of a typical fishing village. Besides, Myliddy is a fishing village known for shark fish. During the civil war which prevailed in Sri Lanka for almost three decades, this fishing village was considered a high-security zone. However, after the end of the civil war, the original inhabitants were placed in these areas again in 2017 and it developed as a fishing village as most of those villagers engage in the fishing industry. However, you can visit Myliddy to see a totally different culture surrounding the fishing industry in Northern Sri Lanka.

There are many other fishing villages close to Jaffna lagoon, Thondamanaru lagoon and Chundikulam lagoon as well. They are also ideal locations to witness coastal fishing activities. Mostly there are small-scale fisheries in this area. Still, there are certain months when there is a big production of fish in the Jaffna district

Jaffna is situated 400 kilometres away from Colombo. It will take about 6 hours and 46 minutes to reach Jaffna from Colombo. The cheapest option is taking the bus to Jaffna from the Colombo Fort. But if you are looking for a faster option, you can even choose to travel by plane. You can take a domestic flight to Jaffna from the Ratmalana airport.

Above all, Jaffna is getting popular as a tourist destination in Sri Lanka. So, if you are visiting the Jaffna peninsula, make sure to pay a visit to a fishing village as well.

5. Chilaw

Chilaw is another popular fishing village located on the west coast of Sri Lanka. Many families live in this village and the majority of them depend on the fishing industry as their livelihood. The Chilaw lagoon is an ideal environment for different types of fisheries. However, the Chilaw lagoon is most famous for fisheries such as catfish, sardines, snappers, seabass, milkfish and different types of prawns.

In fact, this lagoon is home to more than 20 different types of commercially important fish species in Sri Lanka. Apart from that, Chilaw lagoon is also famous for its impeccable mangrove ecosystem. The marshes and the mangrove forest help in creating a safe space for such important marine life. The lagoon surrounds this fishing village. The fishing community of the village has largely benefitted from the Chilaw lagoon and its marine life.

There is a well-established fisheries harbour close to the fishing village in Chilaw. You’ll be able to see how the local fishermen engage in their job daily in this fishing harbour. The Chilaw fishing market is popular for its low price range. This fishing market obtains a good supply of fish all year long. So if you are looking for a place to buy fresh seafood for a lower price, then Chilaw is definitely the place to go!

While you are there, take a look around the vibrant atmosphere of the Chilaw fishing village. Chilaw is located about 80 kilometres away from Colombo. It will take about 1 and half hours to reach Chilaw from Colombo through the Colombo-Katunayake expressway and A3 road. Visit the village early in the morning or in the evening in order to avoid travelling in the scorching heat.

6. Beruwala

Beruwala is popular as a tourist destination situated in the Kalutara district of Sri Lanka. One of the main fishery harbours of the western coast of the country is located in the small town of Beruwala.

Since the majority of the Beruwala community depends on the fishing industry, there’s a large fishing village in the area. Furthermore, Beruwala fishing village has been identified as one of the oldest settlements of the fishing community on the island. It is also considered one of the busiest fishing harbours in the country. You can buy fresh seafood wholesale or retail for very reasonable prices from the Beruwala fishing market.

The fishing village in Beruwala is mainly located alongside the coastline. Various types of colourful fishing boats are parked on this coastline. The morning hours are the busiest at these fishing villages since the boats are returning to the shores at that time after fishing. So, it will be a totally different experience for you to visit the busy beaches of Beruwala which are full of life of the local fishermen.

Beruwala is situated 70 kilometres away from Colombo. You’ll be able to reach Beruwala within 1 hour and 20 minutes via the southern expressway. The easiest way is to take the bus from Colombo Fort and then from Kalutara to Beruwala. If you don’t like public transportation, you can arrange for yourself a private transport from the airport itself as well.

If you are visiting Beruwala as a tourist, then don’t forget to add the fishing village also to your travel list because it will be one of the most extraordinary experiences that you can get in the area.

The Importance of the Fishing Villages to the Sri Lankan Economy

The fishing industry contributes large sums to the GDP of the country. These fishing villages directly join in for this contribution. As you may already know, there is a large community in this country that engages in the fishing industry as their livelihood. So, it is not a secret that all these local fishermen are engaged in earning a crucial income for the country.

Furthermore, The fishing industry contributes immensely to the country’s food supply. Hence, about 60% of the animal protein required for Sri Lanka’s population comes from the hardships of these fishing villages. Sri Lanka also has the capacity to export the excess harvest. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with mentioning that the fishing industry is a key sector of Sri Lanka’s export industry as well.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is the main government authority that overlooks the fishing industry in the country. 

The Bottom Line

Sri Lanka is an interesting tourist destination with so many impressive amusements at every corner of the island. So, visiting fishing villages in Sri Lanka to observe the bustling lives and the hardships of the fishermen, experience the unique cultural aspects of a fishing village, and buy some fishery products are simply a must in your Sri Lankan tour. A fishing village is to offer you some perfect photography opportunities too. So, never think twice to plan your trip to a wonderful fishing village on this splendid island. Happy and safe travelling!