Jaffna fishermen face economic ruin, starvation
[TamilNet, Friday, 24 November 2006, 01:01 GMT]
Comprehensive ban on fishing imposed by Sri Lanka Security forces across the shores of Jaffna Peninsula and islets has driven fisher families into economic ruin and forced many families near starvation, Fisheries Society sources said. Fishing ban is active in Vadamaradchy shores for the last six months, and ban was introduced in the rest of the peninsula after fighting brokeout between Liberation Tigers and Sri Lanka military on 11 August.
The Military command in Palaly announced late October that restrictions of fishing would be relaxed and the fishing will be allowed within 2 km from the shore, following a meeting held between the multi religious dignitaries under the leadership of Jaffna Bishop and civil servants. However, SLA did not implement the new agreement, Fisheries Society sources complained.
Meanwhile, affected fishermen from Velanai area staged an agitation in front of the Velanai Divisional Secretariat Wednesday demanding that the authorities either permit fishermen to fish in restricted areas, or issue dry rations until fishing is allowed, Secretariat sources said.
Sri Lankan Army (SLA) informed the Fisheries Societies in Jaffna town Wednesday that SLA can allow 25 fishermen to fish everyday in the shallow waters of the sea around Jaffna and in Kakkaithivu area within 1 km from the shores. The Fisheries Society spokesperson dismissed the offer as a ruse to placate the International Community, and added that for the proposal to work among its 1500 members, at least 250 fishermen should be allowed to fish everyday.
Price of seafoods has skyrockted in Jaffna due to the low levels of catch available in the market. One kilogram of fish normally sold for Rs.100, currently fetches Rs.1000. Despite the 10 fold rise in price, there is not enough seafood to buy for consumers with enough cash, civilian sources said.