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India must demonstrate goodwill in fishermen situation, says SL Minister

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Citing India’s request for the discharge of fishermen not too long ago arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on the cost of unlawful fishing, Sri Lanka on Wednesday mentioned it’s India that should demonstrate goodwill by stopping its fishermen from trespassing into Sri Lankan waters.

Addressing a press convention in Vavuniya in the Northern Province, Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda mentioned the Indian authorities had approached the Sri Lankan authorities, requesting the discharge of the not too long ago arrested fishermen as a goodwill gesture earlier than a bilateral digital dialogue on the persisting battle involving the fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province. The dialogue is scheduled for December 30, a press release from the Minister’s workplace mentioned. “Honestly, it is India that has to demonstrate goodwill by putting an end to their fishermen’s trespassing activities. Further, since Indian fishermen use banned fishing practices, it poses a great threat to marine biodiversity in the region, that will affect future generations of both countries,” the Minister, who represents the northern Jaffna district in Parliament, mentioned.

The Minister’s assertion comes a day after the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 36 Indian fishermen for allegedly poaching on the Sri Lankan facet of the International Maritime Boundary Line, a demarcation of the Palk Strait mutually agreed by the neighbouring international locations in the 1970s. The Navy additionally apprehended 5 fishing vessels, or backside trawlers, recognized to just about scoop out the ocean mattress and destroy marine organisms. The Palk Bay fisheries battle has been a dominant bilateral concern, particularly since Sri Lanka’s civil battle ended in 2009 and fishermen from the war-affected areas in the north and the east started returning to the ocean — which they might not entry throughout the years of strife — to rebuild their livelihoods.

Three years in the past, Sri Lanka banned backside trawling and launched excessive fines for offenders and international fishing vessels discovered in the island nation’s territorial waters. The measures, in addition to Colombo’s resolution to apprehend seized Indian fishing trawlers for lengthy intervals, noticed a drop in the variety of Indian fishermen being arrested, from over 400 in 2017 to 156 in 2018. However, sections of northern fishermen say they’re now recognizing Indian trawlers alongside their coast but once more, after the SL Navy reportedly relaxed surveillance of the seas in the previous few months, fearing that trespassers who’re arrested might be carriers of COVID-19.

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