Fishing dispute: Sri Lankan fishermen protest Indian poaching in their waters

Hundreds of Sri Lankan fishermen, in a flotilla of around 100 fishing vessels, sailed from northern Sri Lankan district Mullaitivu to Point Pedro on Sunday, protesting against Indian fishermen for allegedly poaching in their waters

Oct 17, 2021
Image
Sri Lankan fishermen

Hundreds of Sri Lankan fishermen, in a flotilla of around 100 fishing vessels, sailed from northern Sri Lankan district Mullaitivu to Point Pedro on Sunday, protesting against Indian fishermen for allegedly poaching in their waters. The usage of the bottom trawling by Indian fishermen, they alleged, was also harming their fishing nets.  

On October 13,  Sri Lankan Navy arrested 23 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu state in India and seized two vessels, accusing them of trespassing into Sri Lankan waters. The punitive actions by the Sri Lankan Navy prompted Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their release. 

The protracted dispute over fishing also stirs up politics, both in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu in India, and sometimes strains bilateral ties. 

In January this year, Sri Lankan Navy allegedly shot dead four Indian fishermen, prompting strong reactions from the Indian government. From the Sri Lankan perspective, it is the responsibility of the Indian side to stop their fishermen from crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line.  

The issue has remained unresolved despite several rounds of talks between officials of the two countries. 

(SAM)