Douglas to take fishermen to India to protest

Minister Douglas Devananda has threatened to take a group of 5000 fishermen to neighboring India to protest against Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters, a statement said on Sunday.

Devananda said in the statement that he will lead the protest to give a message to India that the livelihood of Sri Lankan fishermen is being affected by the actions of the Indian fishermen.

“The Indians enter Sri Lankan waters illegally in large trawlers and engage in large scale fishing. This not only affects the livelihood of Sri Lankan fishermen in the north but it also has an impact on our fishing resources. To stop this we have decided to launch a protest,” Devananda said in the statement.

Indian and Sri Lankan fishing associations have been meeting frequently to address issues faced from both sides but Devananda says a concrete solution to the issue has not yet been reached.

He noted that Indian fishermen continue to enter Sri Lankan waters illegally to catch fish and so he has decided to take 1000 boats and 5000 fishermen by sea to Rameshwaram in southern India in order to press the Indian government and the India’s southern Tamil Nadu administration to stop Indians from fishing in Sri Lankan waters.

However the statement did not mention a date as to when the protest will be carried out.

The Minister also noted that having meetings between fishermen from both countries to address this issue will not suffice and instead both Indian and Sri Lankan governments must also have direct talks on the issue.

The Minister had also recently called for joint patrolling between India and Sri Lanka along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) of both countries.

Indian fishermen often accuse the Sri Lankan navy of attacking them when they catch fish near the boundary line or in Sri Lankan waters.