News Update :

Indian appeal for its fishermen to fish in Lankan waters turned down – Minister Senaratne

Friday, May 18, 2012


Sri Lanka has turned down a request from India to allow Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lankan waters for a certain period of time,

Sri Lanka has turned down a request from India to allow Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lankan waters for a certain period of time, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament yesterday.

He said the request had been made before a discussion between Indian and Sri Lankan authorities on the problem of Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen entering each others sea territories recently.

Dr Senaratne said that the issues, pertaining to the intrusion by Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen into areas out of their exclusive economic zones, would be sorted out through the means of discussions. Both governments and fisheries cooperatives and unions have agreed to a negotiated settlement. These issues would be sorted out on the basis of close bilateral relationship and humanitarian considerations. In this respect a Joint Working Group has been set up and action has been taken to minimize these issues. In addition, the Sri Lankan fishermen have been released by way of an agreement obtained from Home Affairs Ministry in New Delhi, he said.

At the moment there are 36 Sri Lankan fishermen in Indian custody - five at Gujarat, 26 at Tamil Nadu and five at Andra Pradesh - while there are eight Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody, the minister said.

Responding to a question raised by UNP Colombo District MP Ravi Karunanayke, the Minister said that only Sri Lankan fishermen are allowed to fish in the waters off the Kachchathivu Island. "As the Kachchthivu Island belongs to Sri Lanka, the Ministry of External Affairs in India has advised the Indian Fishermen to avoid that region for fishing purposes," he said.

There are 180,693 registered fishermen in Sri Lanka and all Multi-day fishing vessels of those fishermen are equipped with GPS facilities.

Asked whether the fishermen and their vessels have been insured, the minister said that there were 4,596 offshore and deep sea fishing vessels. In 2011, 3,019 vessels and their crew were insured and 8,636 persons so far have contributed to the Diyawara Diriya insurance scheme which was started in May 2011.

(The Island)
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