The India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries today agreed that a road map needs to be put in place to ensure resource sustainability, livelihood, safety and security of the fishermen of both countries.
The agreement was reached at the third meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries held in New Delhi on March 28-29.
The Sri Lanka delegation was led by Ranjith Uyangoda, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Indian delegation by T.S. Tirumurti, Joint Secretary (BSM), Ministry of External Affairs of India.
The leader of the Sri Lankan delegation called on Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Tuesday.
Both sides, in a joint statement, welcomed the convening of the Joint Working Group on Fisheries, the last meeting of which was held in January 2006 in Colombo. The two sides reviewed developments since 2006.
Both sides reiterated the high priority given by their respective Governments to issues of fishermen and their livelihood. They stressed the need for all fishermen to be treated in a humane manner.
To ensure the safety and security of fishermen, both sides agreed that the use of force cannot be justified under any circumstances. The need to respect the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) when fishing was stressed by the Sri Lankan side.
The Sri Lankan side informed that the recent violent incidents in January 2011, which resulted in the death of two Indian fishermen, are being further investigated. In this context, the two sides noted that the Joint Statement on Fishing Arrangements of 26th October 2008 had led to a decrease in violent incidents in 2009-2010.
They agreed on the need to discuss arrangements based on the current situation so as to further strengthen the safety, security and livelihood of the fishermen.
Recalling the initiatives taken earlier in August 2010 by the fishermen of both countries, where a Sri Lankan fishermen delegation visited India, both sides agreed on the need to foster greater understanding between their respective fishermen and fishermen associations.
Both sides discussed the various regulatory measures being put in place to manage the fishery resources in their respective waters. They noted the growing importance of fisheries to the livelihood of the coastal communities in Northern Sri Lanka.
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