Sri Lanka Navy today said it was compelled to arrest the Indian fishermen as they had clearly intruded into the territorial waters of Sri Lanka and that the arrests were not meant to disrupt the ongoing talks between the two governments on the fishing crisis.
“The arrests were made after the fishermen had crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line and were well within our territorial waters” Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuirya said.
He said the Indian fishermen were engaging in ‘bottom trawling’
“They were also engaged in bottom trawling which is illegal therefore the Navy was compelled to make the arrests,” Commander Warnakulasuriya said.
A Naval craft attached to the Northern Naval Command on routine patrol arrested 38 Indian fishermen and took into custody their six trawlers while being engaged in bottom trawling in the seas off the Delft on January 29.
The fishermen and trawlers were handed over to the officials of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Jaffna for legal action, the Navy said.(Hafeel farisz)