Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne and Youth and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa opened the Blue Beach Island Underwater Gallery in Nilwella beach on April 10 at the invitation of Navy Commander. This latest addition in the Southern coast of Nilwella will attract more local and foreign holidaymakers.
The project had been set in motion after taking a wide array of matters into consideration. Among them are preventing harmful effects on marine animals, plants and corals with natural and human activities, protecting the marine ecosystem, creating an artificial fish breeding environment, providing artificial substrates for coral reefing and offering a magnificent site for scuba divers. The mega project was propelled by the Navy in collaboration with the Fisheries Ministry and the Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish, Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multiday Fishing Activities and Fish Exports State Ministry.
Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne and Commander Southern Naval Area Rear Admiral Priyantha Perera and Naval personnel designed the Underwater Gallery with a 100m long and 40m wide model town beneath the surface.
A number of local and foreign divers often come here to be mesmerised 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.
The 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 were made of small pieces of rock so that seaweeds and corals can easily grow on those surfaces to create an environment conducive to natural fish breeding.
Apart from the scuba divers, this attractive site, located at the depth from 04 to 10 metres, 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.
The Sri Lanka Navy was well supported by a number of State and private organisations in carrying out this major project. The opening ceremony was attended by Southern Province Governor Willie Gamage, Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish and Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multiday Fishing Activities and Fish Exports State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, Commander Southern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Priyantha Perera and Naval personnel.