Rameswaram fishermen to resume fishing following talks on Lanka

Indian-fishermenFishermen from coastal hamlets in Rameswaram will resume fishing operations on August 3 after a week long stir to press for various demands, including the release of 77 fishermen in Sri Lankan custody, as the island nation has set them free.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at a meeting of Fishermen’s associations in Rameswaram today, (Sunday) state Fishermen Association president N Devadoss said, the Press Trust of India reported

The fishermen also thanked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for taking steps to secure the release of 77 fishermen and also her assurance to retrieve 103 boats which are still in the island nation’s custody. On July 29, Sushma Swaraj had held a high-level meeting with various stakeholders and deliberated on the different aspects of the fishermen issue with Sri Lanka.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, 13 representatives from Fishermen’s Association of Tamil Nadu, officials of Prime Minister’s Office, Coast Guard, Ministries of Agriculture, Home, Defence, External Affairs and the Indian Navy.

“External Affairs Minister chaired a meeting of internal stakeholders earlier today afternoon to discuss the way forward towards a permanent solution to the fishermen issue between India and Sri Lanka,” MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said following the talks.

“The discussions between stakeholders on the Indian side focussed on different aspects requiring attention, including the livelihood concerns of Indian fishermen and introduction of sustainable fishing practices,” said Swarup. He said all stakeholders agreed with Swaraj that it was important to resolve the issues quickly.

“There was agreement amongst all stakeholders that practical and pragmatic solutions needed to be pursued so that fishermen on both sides can pursue their livelihood in a safe, secure and sustainable manner,” said the MEA spokesperson. (Colombo Gazette)