Fisher Assn. to thrash out unresolved cross-border issue
A six-member delegation of Northern Fishermen's associations will
meet the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development,
Mahinda Amaraweera tomorrow at the Ministry to discuss unresolved
cross-border issue. Director General of the Fisheries Department,
M.C.L.Ferrnando told the Sunday Observer, . the meeting is explicitly to
convey to Indian fishermen, the Northerners' unwillingness to the
'joint-fishing ' proposal put forward by the former at the last Chennai
meeting on March 24, Fernando said. Ministry officials and Deputy
Directors of Fisheries in the North will attend tomorrow's meeting, he
Elaborating further, Fernando said that at the Chennai meeting
attended by fishermen's delegations of the two countries and high
government officials of the two countries, the Indian side wanted Sri
Lankan consent for trawl fishing, a banned method of fishing in Sri
Lanka, in the Sri Lankan territorial waters 80 days in a year with the
promise to phase out from that method over the next two years, in
anticipation of alternative arrangements promised by their government.
The Sri Lankan fishermen wanted time to respond until they got back
home and held talks with their communities, Fernando said.
Taking into account the severe depletion of fish stocks due to
bottom-trawling , the damage done to fisheries habitats, including
breeding grounds, and the acute livelihood problems of their fishermen,
they were not in favour of the 'joint-fishing' proposals of their Indian
counterparts, Fernando further said.
Their delegation subsequently met President Maithripala Sirisena on
April 2 and the President endorsed their decision, The President of the
Federation of Fisheries Associations of Mannar, Justin Soysa told the
Sunday Observer. Justin Soysa also denied reports in sections of the
Colombo-based Tamil language dailies, that a delegation of Indian
fishermen had arrived in Sri Lanka to take part in the discussions.