SLA agrees to ease conditions on Vadamarachchi fishermen

[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 August 2003, 19:30 GMT]
At a discussion with the representatives of the Vadamarachchi Fisheries Co-operative Federation Sunday, the Sri Lanka Army agreed to ease several conditions imposed on fishermen in the Vadamarachchi coastal areas for fishing in northern waters, fisheries sources said.

The discussion was held at the headquarters of 52-4 Brigade of the SLA in the presence of a Sea Monitor of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Jaffna, which arranged the discussion.

The SLA officials gave an assurance that they would stop cutting big fish into two in the name of security. The SLA officials had earlier started cutting big fish to prevent what they said as arms smuggling and this action by the SLA drew complaints from the fishermen who said they had huge monetary losses by such SLA action, sources said

The SLA agreed to conduct checks on fishermen going to the sea in the presence of a fisheries society member. Meanwhile, the SLA officials said that in the future fishing would be allowed from Katkovalam to Thumpalai along the coast of Point Pedro Sea from 10a.m. till 6 p.m., sources said

The Commanding Officer of the 52-4 Brigade of the SLA, Lt.Colonel Thalgoda, and several other SLA officials from all military camps along the coastal areas from Thondamanaru to Katkovalam attended the discussion.

Representatives of the Fisheries Co-op Federation representing fishermen along the coastal areas from Vadamarachchi to Nagarkovil were allowed to participate in the discussion after body and identity checks at several places on the road leading to the headquarters of the 52-4 Brigade headquarters located in the high security zone of Point Pedro. The Press was debarred from attending the discussion, sources said.

Referring to the problem of poaching by Indian trawlers in the Sri Lankan territorial waters, the Sea Monitor attending the discussion said it was a matter between two governments and the SLMM had no right to intervene in this problem, sources said.

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