Millennium Post

Ind, SL fishermen to meet to sort out issues

Ind, SL fishermen to meet to sort out issues
The talks between the fishermen’s associations of Sri Lanka and India are to be held in Chennai on March 24 and 25, the Minister of Home Affairs and Fisheries, Joseph Michael Pereram has said.

A 16-member Sri Lankan team, comprising 10 leaders of fishermen and six officials, will be participating in the talks. The Sri Lankan team will include fishermen leaders from Mannar, Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Kilinochchi along with fisheries officials, Colombo Page reported.

This will be the third time the fishermen’s associations of the two countries are meeting to find a solution to the issue of fishing in the Palk Strait and Palk Bay. Representatives of the fishermen’s associations in Sri Lanka and India met previously on two occasions - first on January 27, 2014 in Chennai and later on May 12, 2014 in Colombo, to find out a solution to share the resources in the seas between the two countries.

Sri Lankan fishermen say the Indian fishermen trespassing into the Sri Lankan waters and using destructive fishing practices is not acceptable. However, Indian fishermen and the Tamil Nadu government are of the view that the waters around Katchatheevu Island and in Palk Bay are their “traditional fishing grounds” that the Sri Lankan fishermen should share. During his visit to Sri Lanka earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena discussed the fishermen issue and agreed that the complex issue involves livelihood and humanitarian concerns on both sides and should be handled from that perspective.

Pakistan releases 57 Indian fishing boats
Pakistan on Saturday released 57 Indian fishing boats that were in its custody. In a statement, Foreign Office said the decision to release the vessels was taken in May last year.

PM Nawaz Sharif visited India at that time to attend the oath-ceremony of PM Modi. An eight-member Indian delegation visited Karachi from March 9 to finalise modalities for the repatriation of boats with officials of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), the statement said. “While the PMSA had kept the boats in good condition, it extended full support to the visiting team in making the boats seaworthy after minor repairs. Subsequently, the boats were towed to the maritime boundary today, where these were physically taken over by the Indian side,” it said. Indian fishermen and boats are often apprehended by PMSA authorities when they violate Pakistan territorial waters.

Usually the boats are not in seaworthy condition and are not returned. However, following instructions from the Prime Minister to return these boats, special efforts were undertaken by the PMSA to ensure that the boats are returned to their owners, the statement added. Pakistan and India frequently arrest rival fishermen for violating the sea waters.
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