Fish poaching to be resolved soon
A meeting to resolve the problem of Indian fishermen entering Sri
Lankan waters will be held with Indian fisheries ministry officials
soon, an official of the Ministry of Fisheries said.
He said there had been several rounds of discussions to resolve the
issue amicably but upto now no consensus has been reached on the
Several Indian fishermen were nabbed recently for poaching in Sri
Lankan waters. As a result relations between the two countries have been
Around 136 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were taken into custody for
crossing the Palk Strait. Sri Lankan fishermen alleged that Indian
fishermen use trawlers that are detrimental to the sea bed and
corals.Convenor, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Herman Kumara
said Indian fishermen had requested for more time to give up the use of
trawlers in tuna fishing.
“Bottomed trawling is harmful to marine life. The impact on corals
and the sea bed from bottom trawling is enormous”, he said.
“Sri Lankan fishermen are not ready to accept the terms of Indian
fishermen and have appealed to them not to stray into Sri Lankan
waters”, the convenor said.The arrest of Indian fishermen sparked
tension in the Southern States of India which claimed that at least two
fishermen were shot dead by the Sri Lankan Navy. The Navy denied the
allegations. Sea poaching has been common among fishermen of both
countries and tension has been eased with the release of the fishermen.
The shift from traditional fishing to capital intensive fishing has
aggravated the problem. In the 1960’s as a part of a Indian -Norwegian
project that focused on capital intensive fishing, the Indian government
provided subsidies to encourage fishermen to use trawlers.
The shift from traditional fishing to capital intensive fishing
resulted in over exploitation of marine resources for exports. Trawlers
use heavy bottomed nets which are dragged through the sea beds trapping
marine life including fish eggs. “The catch is higher than the use of
traditional boats and fishing gear but the adverse impact on the marine
environment is great” Kumara said. The destruction to marine life was
visible within a few years after the introduction of trawlers in South
India. According to reports up to the 1970’s there had been an increase
in fish landings and then a steady decline in prawn landings and
fluctuations in fish catches. Sri Lankan fishermen are free today to
carry out their occupation after several years of restrictions placed by
the conflict. “Indian fishermen trespassing in our sea territory
deprives us the opportunity of good fish catches” fisheries societies