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Sri Lankan Navy resumes raids; 36 Indian fishermen arrested

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After months of limiting arrests of allegedly poaching Indian fishermen, fearing they could possibly be carriers of COVID-19, the Sri Lankan Navy has “resumed its raids” within the seas, an official assertion mentioned on Tuesday.

As many as 36 Indian fishermen have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on Tuesday, and 5 trawlers and fishing gear seized have been, following particular operation carried out by the Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard on Tuesday, a press assertion issued by the Sri Lankan Navy mentioned. The operations have been performed “adhering to the COVID-19 preventive guidelines”, officers mentioned, including that the apprehended Indian fishermen could be despatched for quarantine for 14 days.

“Although operations to prevent poaching by foreign fishermen in Sri Lankan waters have been restricted since March this year due to COVID-19 concerns, the Navy resumed its raids on poaching, considering the impact of this wanton act on the livelihood of local fishing community and to protect the fishing resource of the country, as a result of the surge in the arrival of foreign fishing trawlers in Sri Lankan waters,” the Navy mentioned.

Sections of Sri Lanka’s northern fishermen have just lately raised concern over the “return of” Indian trawlers, whose numbers had dropped in the previous couple of years, after Sri Lanka launched stiff fines and more durable legal guidelines to curtail overseas vessels within the nation’s territorial waters. However, because the Navy reportedly relaxed its surveillance of the northern seas within the wake of COVID-19, the variety of Indian trawlers noticed in Sri Lankan waters started growing, in accordance with a bit of fisher leaders in Jaffna.

India and Sri Lanka have agreed to carry bilateral digital discussions on addressing fishermen’s issues on either side of the Palk Bay, which have endured for a decade. In its latest resumed operation, the Northern Naval Command of Sri Lanka intercepted three Indian fishing trawlers and held 22 fishermen within the sea space off the Delft Island, whereas 14 different fishermen have been arrested off Mannar, in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.

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