Tamil Nadu

Over 200 fishermen arrested this year

With the Sri Lankan authorities arresting 68 Tamil Nadu fishermen in the last four days, the highest number of such arrests has taken place this year since 2017.

So far this year, 231 fishermen have been arrested. The number stood at 413 in 2017. However, barring the 68 fishermen, those who were arrested in 2021 have been freed. Likewise, all those taken into custody four years ago were set free the same year.

Pandemic cut it down

The lowest number of arrests was made in 2020, and the trend was attributed by a senior official of the Department of Fisheries to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoping that the efforts to secure the release of the recently arrested fishermen will succeed, a fisheries expert, however, points to a new trend in Sri Lanka’s approach towards the fishing dispute in the last three years. Since 2018, not all the impounded boats have been released. The expert feels that unless all the boats are given back immediately, they may become unusable, a scenario that should be avoided.

The present year is noteworthy for another reason, which is, however, not positive, the expert says. Five fishermen, including four aged 28-32, lost their lives when their boats collided with the vessels of the Sri Lankan forces.

The year also witnessed 86 fishermen of Rameswaram, along with 11 motorised boats, getting released on the same day of the arrest, thanks to the pandemic.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 7:17:37 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/over-200-fishermen-arrested-this-year/article38016311.ece