They refused to divulge details the meeting in Chennai

Fishermen from India and Sri Lanka on Monday announced that they had reached an agreement on various issues over fishing in Palk Strait.

But they clarified that it was for the two governments and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to ratify the decisions taken at a meeting held here. They refused to reveal any other details.

“The talks are satisfactory and useful and we have made progress. The resolutions adopted at the meeting will be sent to the Chief Minister and the two governments for approval before implementation,” said U. Arulanandam, a Ramanathapuram fishermen, who attended the eight-hour meeting began at 10 am.

Accompanied by T. Sathasivam, a fishermen delegate from Sri Lanka, Mr. Arulanandam reiterated that there was a consensus on fishing, but refused to divulge what transpired at the meeting.

Free exchange of ideas

Mr. Arulanandam said both sides exchanged ideas freely.

“In the past, we could not implement the agreements because they were not ratified by the governments,” he explained.

He said some restrictions and bans with regard to fishing also came up for discussion.

Asked whether Sri Lankan fishermen were ready to allow Tamil fishermen to enter the international waters for fishing, he said decision on such issues, including fishing in traditional fishing areas, could be taken only by the two governments.

Besides fishermen representatives, Tamil Nadu was represented by Fisheries Minister K.A. Jeyapal, department secretary S. Vijayakumar, Fisheries Director C. Munianathan and other officials.

Suchitra Durai, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Deputy Secretary (Sri Lanka) Mayank Joshi and Indian High Commission official in Colombo Shiv Darshan Singh represented the Indian government. Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai Sabarullah Khan, Director-General of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Sri Lanka Nimal Hettiarachchi and senior officials participated.

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