The Government is to seek compensation from India for the damage caused to Sri Lanka’s marine resources by Indian fishermen.
Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said the Government will also not return the boats seized from Indian fishermen arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters.
Amaraweera said that 54 boats seized from Indian fishermen as well as their fishing equipment are in Sri Lankan custody.
The Minister said that while measures have been taken to release 120 Indian fishermen, the Government will not return the boats or the fishing equipment.
He said that the biggest concern for Sri Lanka is that Indians use bottom trawling to catch fish and this destroys the marine resources in Sri Lankan waters.
The Minister said that the Government is keen to have talks with the Indian Government to seek a permanent solution to the fishing issue.
The Minister said that during talks with the Indian Government, Sri Lanka will look to seek some form of compensation to cover the costs of the damage caused to Sri Lanka’s marine resources by Indian fishermen.
“We want to ensure the fishermen, mostly in the North of the country, are given compensation by India as they are the ones mostly affected,” he said.
Amaraweera said that the Government will also not respond to concerns being raised by the Tamil Nadu State Government in India and will only have talks with the Indian Government.
The Minister said that most Indian fishermen work for Tamil Nadu politicians and so the issue cannot be resolved unless even they are arrested and not just the fishermen.
He said that in future there is a proposal being considered where instead of arresting fishermen who poach in Sri Lankan waters their boats and fishing equipment will be seized and a fine imposed. (Colombo Gazette)