Fishermen in Ezhuvai-theevu protest against Indian poaching

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 January 2011, 09:49 GMT]
Fishermen in Ezhuvai-theevu island off Jaffna on Tuesday protested against poaching by Indian trawlers in their waters, heavily destroying the sea-resources and the livelihood of local fishermen. All traffic to and from the island was disturbed and the whole island was at standstill as all the residents joined the protest expressing support to the fishermen. Sri Lanka Navy officers from Kayts, who arrived at the site of protest told protestors that the SLN had no instructions to interfere in the matter as it was an issue of diplomatic relations between the Sri Lankan and the Indian states.

A senior lecturer at the University of Jaffna, Dr. Soosai Anandan, on Tuesday said new initiatives were needed for meetings between the fisheries societies of North and East and Tamil Nadu.

The Indian trawlers carrying out a systematic bottom trawling have stepped up their encroachments in a systematic way after the recent defence agreement between Colombo and New Delhi.

Ezhuvai-theevu fisheries society representatives told media that local fishermen were not able to go to the seas. Earlier the Indian trawlers were poaching 3 days in a week, but now they come every day, they said. Fishing nets of local fishermen, worth of several thousands rupees, have been destroyed by the trawlers.

Ezhuvai-theevu is the island that is seen first when coming from the Indian coast to Kayts Harbour.

The Sri Lankan state has banned fishing by trawlers in the Palk Bay with effect from 1 Jan 2011. The local fishermen are entirely dependent of traditional fishing in a limited sea due to militarization by the Sri Lankan Navy.

While an agreement has been reached between the two establishments of Colombo and New Delhi on the security of sea-lanes, as in the past many protocols of it remain a secret. Both the establishments have joint interests in bringing in a wedge between the Tamil fishing communities on either side of the Palk Bay.


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