The Navy and Coast Guard will be given strict instructions to arrest Indian fishermen engaged in poaching in Sri Lankan waters, Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.
At a meeting with the Jaffna Fishermen Association, the Minister said there would be a drastic increase in the number of Indian fishermen arrested after the Thaipongal Festival.
The decision was made as Sri Lankans could not make a livelihood in Northern waters, even though the civil war had ended, as Indian fishermen continued to engage in illegal bottom trawling in Sri Lankan waters.
He assured the Ministry would request the Navy and Coast Guard to seize more than 500 trawlers, a fraction of the trawlers illegally entering Sri Lankan waters daily, before the end of the year.
“Bottom trawling not only effects the local fishermen it also destroys the marine resources of the country. I have informed the Indian Central Government and Indian High Commission regarding the issue and they are aware of the situation,” he said.
Minister Amaraweera said the Sri Lankan government would not release the trawlers and fishing equipment that will be confiscated.
He said a cabinet paper would be submitted to establish a system to provide benefits for the Northern fishermen. (By Darshana Sanjeewa)