The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said that there was a 50 percent decrease of Lankan fishermen being arrested by Indian authorities for allegedly crossing the exclusive Economic Zone boundary.
By September of this year the number was 144 fishermen and 29 trawlers. The ministry said that in the year 2010, 322 fishermen and 57 trawlers were arrested by the Indian authorities.
According to the Ministry there are 17 trawlers and 86 fishermen in Indian custody and steps have already been taken to release them as well within the next few weeks.
However under a court ruling in Andrah Pradesh, 35 fishermen along with seven trawlers are to be released when the deportation orders are issued by the central government.
“Currently most of them have been produced before the respective courts. Pending the court cases the Ministry has already started discussions with the Indian authorities to ensure a quick release of them,” a fisheries ministry source said.
Sri Lankan fishermen are arrested by the Indian authorities for crossing the Indian-Sri Lankan Maritime Boundary or if they are found stranded.
The Instances of Indian fishermen entering Sri Lankan waters have become frequent, causing problem for both governments mainly for allegedly poaching in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.
Miniser Rajitha Senaratne has advised local fishermen to be aware of the situation and not to enter the exclusive Economic Zones. (Supun Dias)