Allowing Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. The government’s attempt to undermine the fishermen of this country by amending the Fisheries Act. Local fishermen become extremely helpless.
The All Ceylon Fisher Folk Trade Union says that the local fishermen have become extremely helpless due to allowing Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.
Aruna Roshantha, the President of the Fisher Folk Trade Union, speaking at a media briefing held at the Fatima Retreat House at Lewalla in Kandy on the 24th of September said that the government is trying to weaken the fishermen of this country by amending the Fisheries Act in the future just as Indian fishermen are allowed to enter the territorial waters of this country.
He said that due to the effects of the use of cache nets in the south, the use of dynamite in the east, and the exploitation of Indian fishermen in the north, the Sri Lankan fishermen have become extremely helpless and victims in our own fishing industry.
President Anura Roshantha pointed out that the local industrialists engaged in the fishing industry in the area from Jaffna in the north to Kalpitiya Battalangunduwa are in dire straits due to this issue.
“Although the government is responsible for controlling the price of fish, the government does not intervene in this regard and even the fisheries corporation has not been able to sell fish at a low price,” he said.
“Instead of buying fish from fishermen and selling fish at low prices, the corporation is buying from fish vendors. Like this, the government is trying to fulfill the objectives of some parties by amending the Fisheries Act.” added the President Arun Roshantha.
Speaking to the media Anthony Fonseka, President of Kalpitiya Battalangunduwa Fishermen’s Society, said that the Indian government has banned using fishing trawlers and due to this, many illegal trawler vessels from India are engaged in fishing in Sri Lankan waters. Although it is illegal in India, they escape the law of Sri Lanka and do it very easily in our waters.
“The Sri Lankan government or the navy does not take any action against them. Sometimes we even have to be attacked by them.” Anthony Fonseka said.
Also, Dinesh Suranjan Fernando the General Secretary of the All Ceylon Fisher Folk Tread Union talked to Mojo News and said that Fishers families in Uchchamunai, Battalangunduwa and Kalpitiya in the Puttlam district, Mannar, Kilinochchiya, Jaffna and Mullaithivu five districts are mostly affected by the Indian Trawling issue.
“In those districts, more than 25 thousand fisher families are being affected and Fishermen in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Mannar are the most affected fisher folk in this Indian Trawling issue,” added Dinesh Suranjan.
President of Mannar Fishermen’s Association Mohammad Alam and President of Batticaloa Fishermen’s Association A.N. Padmanathan also expressed their views at the press briefing representing their victims of the issue.
Fisher leaders said that even though there are many institutions like Nara Institute, Maritime Safety Authority, Coastal Conservation Department, and Central Environment Authority to represent the fishermen, they do not represent the fishermen in any way.
Also, they emphasized at the press conference that if the Fisheries Act is amended in some way, all the fishermen will gather against it.
Meanwhile, according to the operation of the Northern Naval Command deployed a Fast Attack Craft of the 04th Fast Attack Flotilla to chase away a cluster of Indian poaching trawlers, after spotting the Indian fishermen engaging in illegal fishing in the island’s waters off the Kakarathivu Island and Kovilan Lighthouse on 13th September.
So far in 2023, the Navy has seized 17 Indian poaching trawlers and 110 Indian fishermen in island waters and handed them over to the Fisheries Inspector of Mailadi for onward legal proceedings, the Navy said.