Around 13 fishermen representatives from Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and three to four fishermen representatives from Karaikal in the Union territory of Puducherry are expected to attend the meeting. The Sri Lankan side will be represented by an equal number of fishermen representatives from Jaffna, Mannar, Mullivaikal and Vanni.
The row between fishermen in Tamil Nadu (especially in southern coastal districts) and those in Northern Province of Sri Lanka has been going on for several years. It has intensified after the civil war in the island nation ended in 2009.
Sri Lankan fishermen have been complaining that Indian fishermen are destroying their marine wealth by resorting to destructive fishing practices. Sri Lankan naval agencies have been detaining Indian fishermen on charges of poaching in the territorial waters of the island nation.
Informal talks between the fishermen held in 2004 and 2010 as well as the talks held in Chennai in 2014 with the support of the Indian and Sri Lankan governments failed to solve the issues.
“We are hopeful that the fishermen row will be sorted out this time and our fishermen may be able to fish in the Palk Strait in peace”, said U Arulanandam, a fishermen activist in Pamban. (Colombo Gazette)