HIKKADUWA NATIONAL PARK
Hikkaduwa national park is one of the two marine national parks in Sri Lanka. The park contains a fringing coral reef of high degree of biodiversity. The area was declared a sanctuary on May 18,1979, and then on August 14, 1988, upgraded to a nature reserve with extended land area and the reef was declared a national park on September 19, 2002.
Covering an area of about 101 ha Hikkaduwa National park is home to a highly diverse fringing coral reef located at a depth of 5m that extends about 4 Km out to sea from the beach. The reef is home to about 175 species of reef fish, sea grass and algae which in turn nourishes, crab , prawns, shrimps, oysters, sea worms and many species of ornamental fish. Blacktop reef sharks have been found along the outer edge of the of the reef while Hawksbill, green and olive ridely turtles visit the reef and have been declared as endangered.
Over the years the reef has experienced several catastrophi c events including a bleaching set off by a hot spell in 1998 when a good part of the reef was destroyed. The 2004 tsunami itself did little damage but the need for proper reef management is very much a concern. The reef experiences daily threats particularly from the removal of ornamental fish.