Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 March 2011





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

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 problem.

Several Indian fishermen were nabbed recently for poaching in Sri Lankan waters. As a result relations between the two countries have been unsavoury.

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 said.



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