Written by Zulfick Farzan
14 Apr, 2021 | 6:18 pm
Colombo (News 1st); Indian fishing vessels illegally fishing in Sri Lankan waters pillage around Rs. 900 billion worth of valuable marine resources in the northern seas of Sri Lanka.
The Chief of the Northern Province Fisheries Association M. V. Subramanium speaking to News 1st said that the proposal to offer permits to Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lankan waters is unacceptable.
“This has not happened anywhere else and we are not ready to give up our resources,” he said while alleging that every Indian fishing boat entering Sri Lankan waters is connected to Indian politicians and most of these boats belong to Members of the Legislative Assembly in Tamil Nadu who are sponsoring these illegal acts.
On Tuesday (13), News 1st exposed how Indian fishing vessels illegally enter Sri Lankan waters not far from the Island of Delft, under the cover of darkness to pillage our marine resources.
The Indian fishing vessels were using a fishing method banned in Sri Lanka, which is called Bottom Trawling.
Bottom trawling is an industrial fishing method where a large net with heavy weights is dragged across the seafloor, scooping up everything in its path, from the targeted fish to incidentally caught, centuries-old corals.
These nets are dragged by two large trawlers, equipped with powerful engines, larger than any fishing vessel used in Sri Lanka.
Indian fishermen forcing their way into Sri Lankan waters is not something that happened overnight, it is an issue that has been growing over the years.
It is in such a backdrop, Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda proposed to allow Indian Fishermen to enter into Sri Lankan waters by offering them a pass.
Sri Lankan fishermen, especially those in the north are outraged by this proposal.
“Indian fishermen are already destroying our valuable marine resources, and now there is an attempt to offer passes for them to come here. We oppose this move. If this situation continues, the word ‘FISH’ will be limited to text on paper,” warned one fisherman.
Sri Lankan fishermen say that Indian trawlers come very close to the Sri Lankan mainland under the cover of darkness and in the process of pillaging our seas, they destroy the valuable fishing nets of local fishers.
“They destroy the nets that we purchase at a high cost, sometimes valued in the hundreds of thousands. If permits are offered to them, why do we need a maritime boundary,” said another fisherman.
However, Sri Lanka Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said the issue needs to be solved diplomatically.
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