Bottom Trawling At Centre of Indo Sri Lanka Fishermen Dispute


Colombo Page reported that Sri Lanka Navy has arrested another 12 Indian fishermen for illegally fishing in Sri Lankan waters and seized their two boats during a special operation conducted in the seas north of Talaimannar on Feb 12.


According to the Navy, the North Central Naval Command conducted this operation in seas north of Talaimannar in the dark hours of 12th February deploying Fast Attack Craft of the 4th Fast Attack Flotilla.


The Navy team seized the two Indian trawlers which were engaging in the illegal fishing method of ‘bottom trawling’ in Sri Lankan waters, via the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).


The Navy also nabbed 12 Indian fishermen aboard the poaching vessels in this operation. Arrangements are being made to hand over the Indian poaching vessels and fishermen held in the operation to relevant authorities, the Navy said.

Earlier the Navy had seized 03 Indian trawlers with 11 fishermen poaching in the island's waters close to the Delft Island, Jaffna on the night of 07th February as well.


Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing his displeasure over the arrest of 12 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy. “The repeated instances of arrests and harassment have caused a sense of insecurity in the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu, particularly in the Palk Bay area and have adversely affected their livelihoods,” Stalin wrote as per the Hindustan Times.


"As the Covid situation has eased, I request you to press for the resumption of deliberations through the Joint Working Group Meeting (JWG) immediately. Further, talks between the fishermen of the two countries may also be facilitated to ease the tension in the area," he further writes in the letter as per the Hindustan Times.


The Hindu reports that Sri Lankan Parliament unanimously passed an Amendment to the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act that declared the method of fishing by bottom trawling an offence in 2017.


Thus Sri Lankan Navy has accused the Tamil Fishermen of bottom trawling, an ecologically destructive practice, involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea-floor, causing great depletion of aquatic resources as per the Hindu.


In bottom trawling net is spread along the sea-floor to catch shrimp and fish like halibut and sole; however, bottom trawling also captures juvenile fish, thus exhausting the ocean’s resources and affecting marine conservation efforts reports the Hindu.

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