ECONOMYNEXT – No decision has been made by the government to license fishermen from India to fish in Sri Lanka waters, Co-cabinet Minister Udaya Gammanpila said.
He was responding to questions over a statement attributed to Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda that discussions were underway with India to license limited number of Indian boats to fish in Sri Lanka waters.
Minister Gammanpila said no such proposal had been discussed at cabinet level.
Fishing vessels from South India had got into the habit of straying over the Indo-Lanka maritime border during a 30 year civil war when Sri Lanka fishermen were banned from entering the Northern waters.
Last week Sri Lanka Navy arrested several Indian boats, as election fever was hotting up in South India.
Sri Lanka then released the fishermen, reportedly at India’s request.
Minister Gammanpila said sometime arrested fishermen are fined and their equipment confiscated, and sometimes they are released at the intervention of India.
India also releases arrested Sri Lanka fishermen from time to time, he said.
He said he hoped India would reciprocated. (Colombo/Mar30/2021)