Sri Lanka will officially turn down India’s proposal to share their territorial waters by fishermen so as to avoid clashes in the fishing industry, Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday.
India’s Naval and Coast Guard Department representatives are expected to hold talks with the Fisheries Ministry on Friday in Colombo to discuss how to resolve the problems faced by the fisheries sectors of the two countries.
Dr. Senaratne said this meeting would be attended by representatives from Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Andra Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“On several occasions, Sri Lankan fishermen had been arrested by the Indian coast guards. We will oppose the idea of the sharing the territorial waters by Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen. We cannot allow any sharing because in such a case, Sri Lanka will always be placed at a disadvantageous position,” he said.
But both countries should encourage their fishermen to venture out on deep sea fishing. The fishermen’s issue has already led to a diplomatic row between the two countries. Sri Lankan fishermen, particularly in areas such as Jaffna charge that their fishing grounds were being exploited by a large number of Tamil Nadu fishermen who are depriving them of the only form of livelihood available to them. (Kelum Bandara)