Sri Lanka expects to obtain an undertaking from Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to ban bottom trawling by Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry Mahinda Amaraweera said.
He is expected to have a discussion with Ms. Swaraj who arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday for a two-day visit on poaching by South Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters denying the Northern Tamils of their livelihood.
The minister told a news briefing the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has prepared a ‘Sandeshaya’ outlining the consequences of illegal fishing by South Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka’s waters on fishermen in northern Sri Lanka and the measures that have to be taken by the Indian government to prevent it.
“We have explained the steps taken by Sri Lanka to protect the territorial waters and the sea bed in northern Sri Lanka from illegal fishing methods such the using of ‘Surukku and Laila’ nets. We have also explained as to how the entire sea bed of northern Sri Lanka has turned into a baron marine territory as a result of illegal fishing methods such as bottom trawling and the use of Surukku and Leila nets by South Indian fishermen for years despite repeated requests not to do it,” the minister said.
"The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has banned the use of these nets and Sri Lanka is determined not to allow South Indian fishermen to use illegal methods of fishing," he said. (Sandun A Jayasekera)