Tamil Nadu

Ready to hold talks with Tamil Nadu CM, says Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister

Sri Lanka is ready to hold talks with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisamy to resolve the problems of fisher folk of both countries, Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said on Monday.

Addressing a press conference in Colombo, along with two of his ministerial colleagues, Mr. Devananda — who represents Jaffna district in Parliament — said both India and Sri Lanka were committed to addressing the long-drawn Palk Bay Fisheries conflict. Sri Lanka’s northern fishermen have raised concerns over Indian fishermen — originating from Tamil Nadu — trespassing into their waters and using destructive fishing methods, such as bottom trawling which is banned in Sri Lanka.

The issue was discussed in the recent virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa. “As the leaders talked about ways to resolve this problem, a possible discussion with Tamil Nadu was considered,” Mr. Devananda, who was present at the virtual summit, said.

Over the years, there have been several bilateral meetings between the governments and fishermen leaders from both countries, but a mutually agreeable solution has been elusive.

However, some Jaffna-based fishermen have noticed a reduction in the number of Indian trawlers entering Sri Lankan waters in the last couple of years after Sri Lanka introduced tougher laws and huge fines.

The Sri Lankan Navy has so far arrested 34 Indian fishermen this year, compared to 210 arrested last year. But some fishermen have noted that the Navy might have avoided arresting poaching fishermen from India fearing they could be carrying the coronavirus, according to northern fishermen leaders.

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Printable version | Oct 30, 2020 2:40:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ready-to-hold-talks-with-tamil-nadu-cm-says-sri-lankan-fisheries-minister/article32719597.ece

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