Fishing restrictions push Jaffna fisher-families to starvation

[TamilNet, Sunday, 08 June 2008, 01:51 GMT]
Nearly 19,000 fisher-families in Jaffna peninsula face starvation and severe economic setbacks due to the frequent and sudden ban on fishing in the Jaffna lagoon, Vadmaraadchi, and Maathakal seas, fisheries societies complain. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) restrictions on fishing citing security concerns have pushed the fisher-families to the brink of starvation, fisheries officials added.

Fishermen in the peninsula are permanently restricted from engaging in night time fishing, and restricted to fishing only within limited distance from the shore. Outboard motors are also banned permanently.

The recent reduction from 250 to 40 of the number of boats allowed fishing in Paasaiyoor, Kozhumpuththu’rai and Kurunakar coastal areas of the Jaffna lagoon has crippled fishing, and the livelihood of thousands of families dependent on fishing.

This restriction leaves a fisher-family once in two weeks possiblity of going out to fish, fisheries sources pointed out.

Following the Sea Tiger raid on the SLN installation in Chi'ruththeevu recently, SLN and SLA are forcing fishermen along the coast of Jaffna lagoon to remove their fishing nets cast permanently in their respective areas.

Groups of fishermen are ordered to remove their nets on a daily basis in seas covering Paasaiyoor, Kozhumpuththu'rai and Kurunakar areas. Fisheries societies fear that the above type of fishing will be totally banned in the next few days.

Meanwhile, SLN sends back fisherman from the shores of Vadamaraadchi north and east whenever their ships sail in the seas between the ports of Kaangkeasanthu'rai (KKS) and Trincomalee and during war rehearsals held in these seas.

Fishermen in Maathakal area too face similar hurdles to go fishing.

More than 19,000 fisher-families in the peninsula have to manage with the dry food ration worth 1,250 rupees, per month which is hardly enough to feed the members of a family, the sources pointed.

Fishing in Jaffna peninsula has suffered a near 95% plunge in the past twenty year period from 1983 due to ban and restrictions imposed on fishing by Sri Lanka Army (SLA), rendering most of the fishermen dependent on relief supplies to survive, according to Fisheries Society Federation statistics.

48,677 metric tonnes fish caught in 1983 had dropped to 2,963 metric tonnes in 2007, statistics further reveal.

Related Articles:
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09.04.08   SLA shell kills fisherman in Jaffna
26.03.08   SLN imposes fishing ban in Vadamaraadchi North
31.01.08   SLN confiscates passes of Vadamaraadchi fishermen
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09.09.07   SLN kills fisherman in Vadamraadchi Sea


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