Agreement to avoid court procedures:
SL, India to amicably solve fishing issues
Fisheries authorities in Sri Lanka and India have agreed to solve the
issues of fishermen in the Palk Bay region without taking the fishermen
through court processes. Sri Lanka is releasing Indian fishermen who
have been in Sri Lankan custody for illegal cross-border fishing, while
India is releasing Sri Lankan fishermen in Sri Lankan custody for
similar doing after a top level decision taken by Sri Lanka and India to
release the fishermen, Fisheries Ministry Maritime Surveillance Unit
yesterday told the Daily News.
Fisheries Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratna said they have decided to
solve matters amicably by way of friendly discussions with the Indian
There are thousands of trawlers from Tamil Nadu that enter Sri Lankan
waters on a daily basis. This has has led to a situation of dwindling
fish in Lankan waters.
Sri Lanka recentltly released a batch of Indian fishermen who were in
Sri Lankan custody for violating International Maritime Boundary Line
law and illegally fishing in Lankan waters in a friendly gesture to
Meanwhile, India released 20 Sri Lankan fishermen four days ago. They
had been arrested for fishing in the Indian waters, said Fisheries
They said, moves are under way to install a Vessel Monitoring
System(VMS) to monitor Sri Lankan vessels and to prevent them from
straying into the territorial waters of other countries by way of
satellite based signals.
Asked if the system could monitor foreign vessels from entering into
Sri Lankan seas, he said, it will not be possible. However, the Sri
Lanka Navy and local Coast Guard patrol the sea to prevent such
occurrences. Asked about the situation of trawling by Indian vessels in
Sri Lankan waters, Navy spokesman commodore Kosala Warnakulasuriya said
, that situation has been brought under control to a greater degree.
Asked if they arrest poaching Indian vessels, he said , Sri Lankan
Navy would arrest any vessel that enters the Sri Lankan waters
illegally. However, we used to issue warnings to Indian vessels
before they cross over into our waters. We have not arrested anyone
recently, he added.
We have brought several local fishermen and their boats to Sri
Lankan shores after they were handed over to us by the Indian Coast
Guard. We too have handed over Indian fishermen, who were arrested by us
on charges of illegal entry into Lankan waters upon their release by the
government, he explained.