South Indian fishermen indulge in IUU fishing (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing) in the Sri Lankan waters undeterred since arrests are not being made as part of restrictions imposed in view of the pandemic, a minister said yesterday.
Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda told the Daily Mirror that hundreds, if not thousands of such fishermen from Tamil Nadu, cross the maritime boundary and carry out IUU fishing in the Sri Lanka waters off the northern province of the country damaging marine resources and fishing gear of local fishermen.
He said Sri Lanka Navy could not make arrests since any contact with such freshmen to be avoided as a precaution against COVID-19. The Minister said the use of trawl nets destroying marine life in Sri Lanka.
“They destroy 17 kg of marine life to catch one kg of fish, according to a study done by the Jaffna University. In the use of trawl nets, juvenile fish are destroyed. In the Indian side of the maritime boundary, the fisheries resources have been exhausted. If the present trend continues, we will also be stripped of our resources,” he said.
The fisheries issue was discussed at the recent virtual meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The Minister said a joint mechanism has been proposed to be established to address the issue and to manage the maritime resources jointly by the two countries. The Indian leader gave his nod to the proposal put out by Minister Devananda on behalf of Sri Lanka.(Kelum Bandara)