Citing India’s request for the discharge of fishermen just lately arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on the cost of unlawful fishing, Sri Lanka on Wednesday stated it’s India that should show goodwill by stopping its fishermen from trespassing into Sri Lankan waters.
Addressing a press convention in Vavuniya within the Northern Province, Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda stated the Indian authorities had approached the Sri Lankan authorities, requesting the discharge of the just lately arrested fishermen as a goodwill gesture earlier than a bilateral digital dialogue on the persisting battle involving the fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province. The dialogue is scheduled for December 30, an announcement from the Minister’s workplace stated. “Truthfully, it’s India that has to show goodwill by placing an finish to their fishermen’s trespassing actions. Additional, since Indian fishermen use banned fishing practices, it poses an incredible risk to marine biodiversity within the area, that may have an effect on future generations of each international locations,” the Minister, who represents the northern Jaffna district in Parliament, stated.
The Minister’s assertion comes a day after the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 36 Indian fishermen for allegedly poaching on the Sri Lankan facet of the Worldwide Maritime Boundary Line, a demarcation of the Palk Strait mutually agreed by the neighbouring international locations within the 1970s. The Navy additionally apprehended 5 fishing vessels, or backside trawlers, identified to nearly scoop out the ocean mattress and destroy marine organisms. The Palk Bay fisheries battle has been a dominant bilateral concern, particularly since Sri Lanka’s civil struggle led to 2009 and fishermen from the war-affected areas within the north and the east started returning to the ocean — which they might not entry throughout the years of strife — to rebuild their livelihoods.
Three years in the past, Sri Lanka banned backside trawling and launched excessive fines for offenders and overseas fishing vessels discovered within the island nation’s territorial waters. The measures, along with Colombo’s resolution to apprehend seized Indian fishing trawlers for lengthy intervals, noticed a drop within the variety of Indian fishermen being arrested, from over 400 in 2017 to 156 in 2018. Nonetheless, sections of northern fishermen say they’re now recognizing Indian trawlers alongside their coast but once more, after the SL Navy reportedly relaxed surveillance of the seas up to now few months, fearing that trespassers who’re arrested could possibly be carriers of COVID-19.