India, Sri Lanka to intensify patrols to prevent poaching
ECONOMYNEXT – India and Sri Lanka agreed to intensify cooperation on patrolling to prevent poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters in talks Monday with New Delhi seeking more time to end destructive bottom trawling which Colombo wants banned immediately.
“An understanding was reached to ensure that there was no physical harm or loss of life while apprehending fishermen by Navy and Coast Guard of the two countries,” a joint statement said after the ministerial-level talks.
“It was agreed to explore the possibility of introducing effective tracking systems for the fishing vessels and making the use of onboard communication equipment mandatory.”
Both sides decided to intensify cooperation on patrolling and to institute periodic interaction between the Coast Guard of the two countries as part of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).
The statement said the Sri Lankan side reiterated that the practice of bottom trawling needs to end “at the earliest”.
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The Indian side “assured that bottom trawling would be phased out in a graded time-bound manner within a practicable timeframe”, it said.
This was keeping in mind the capacity building of Indian fishermen who have to be diversified into deep sea fishing as well as other coastal fisheries activities including mariculture, pearl farming and seaweed culture, the statement said.
(COLOMBO, Jan 02, 2016)
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies