ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka had called for joint patrols to end continued poaching in the Northern waters of the island and India requested the release of arrested fishermen, at joint working group meeting, the ministry of fisheries said.
“The Sri Lanka delegation underlined the need to address the matter of illegal fishing in the Sri Lankan waters by Indian fishermen, which resulted in loss of livelihood and damage to fishing equipment of local fishermen,” the Ministry of Fisheries said.
“The Indian side elaborated details in regard to the legal action taken against such practices and the initiatives to encourage South Indian fishermen to engage in deep sea fishing and alternative livelihood.
“Sri Lankan delegation conveyed the need to further enhance the joint patrolling and operationalization of the hotline between the Law Enforcement authorities of the two countries to ensure effective results.”
The Sri Lanka- India Joint Working Group (JWG) on Fisheries had met for the fourth time virtually on December 2020.
The Sri Lankan delegation, was led by R. M. I. Rathnayake, Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries, and also had representatives from Foreign Ministry, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Attorney General’s Department, Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi, Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard.
South Indian fishermen had got used to fishing in Sri Lanka’s Northern Coastal waters during long civil war that ended in 2009, where Sri Lankan fishers were restricted by the military.
“The Indian delegation called on the Sri Lanka Government to ensure the early release of recently arrested fishermen by Sri Lanka authorities,” the statement said.
“The Sri Lankan side assured to facilitate the release of arrested fishermen early, once the legal procedures are completed.
“The relevant authorities have already granted the necessary facilities including consular access to the arrested Indian fishermen.
The discussion also focused on Sri Lanka’s request for a safe passage for Sri Lankan fishermen to enter the Arabian Sea.
The Indian delegation was led by Rajeev Ranjan, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries with representatives Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, State Government of Tamil Nadu, State Government of Puducherry, Indian Navy and the Coast Guard.
The two sides had expressed willingness to convene a early Ministerial meeting. (Colombo/Dec31/2020)