Northern fishermen oppose State moves to unconditionally release confiscated Indian trawlers

[TamilNet, Saturday, 02 September 2017, 23:28 GMT]
The occupying Colombo regime, particularly its Ministry of Fisheries and the SL Navy are working closely with the Indian High Commission in Colombo to release 42 trawlers that were confiscated while trespassing into the territorial waters of Northern province two years ago. The owners of the bottom-trawlers, have been silently visiting the jetty under the control of the SL Navy and repaired their boats. The trawlers are going to be ceremonially released in the sea at an event between the Indian and SL Navies. The associations of the local fishermen societies in North have been demanding written statement from each owner of the bottom-trawlers being released stating that they would not trespass anymore and engage in bottom-trawling which has been legally banned in the island. But, the SL Ministry of Aquatic Resources has dodged their demands.

Such statements would be useful in permanently seizing the boats if the same boats were to engage in destructive fishing in the territorial seas of Northern Province in future, the fishermen associations in North say.

Despite the recent legal ban on bottom trawling, the Indian bottom-trawlers continue to trespass and engage in destructive fishing closer to the coast of Jaffna and Mannaar districts, the fishermen say.

Colombo and New Delhi want to keep it the matter as a ‘diplomatic’ and ‘military’ affair rather than listening to the demands of the local fishermen.

Sinhala fishermen from South are also continuing to do the same.

Despite the legal ban on the use of trawl nets, they continue to exploit the aquatic resources in the North with the backing of the occupying Sinhala Navy, the local fishermen further complain.

In the meantime, SL Fisheries Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources are fully backing the Sinhala fishermen who have seized the fishing coast of Eezham Tamils in Karai-thu'raip-pattu division of Mullaiththeevu district, the representatives of fisheries federation in North said.


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