India and Sri Lanka held Ministerial level talks on fishermen’s issues today in New Delhi and agreed that a permanent solution to the issues should be found at the earliest.
Radha Mohan Singh, Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India met with Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development of Sri Lanka.
The talks followed by the 3rd Meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Fisheries held in New Delhi on 13 October 2017.
The Joint Working Group was co-chaired by Secretary (Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries), Government of India and Secretary (Ministry of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development), Government of Sri Lanka.
The co-Chairs of the JWG briefed the outcome of the issues discussed during the 3rd JWG meeting for consideration of the Ministers and for further directions. The Ministers agreed that a permanent solution to the fishermen issues should be found at the earliest.
The Indian side was satisfied with the progress on release of apprehended fishermen and detained fishing vessels in the recent past, while reiterating the release of all the remaining Indian fishing vessels in Sri Lankan custody.
Recent initiatives taken by the Government of India to end bottom trawling in the Palk Bay area were shared with the Sri Lankan side.
These include launching of a programme on diversification of bottom trawlers into Deep Sea Fishing Vessels for tuna long lining under Blue Revolution Scheme, construction of Mookaiyur and Poompuhar fishing harbours, capacity building programmes for fishermen of Palk Bay area in deep sea tuna long lining. Besides, fresh registration for bottom trawlers in the Palk Bay area has been banned by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
In addition, alternative livelihood opportunities for the fishing communities in Palk Bay area are being offered through open sea cage farming, seaweed farming and other allied coastal fisheries activities.
While acknowledging the efforts taken by India to end bottom trawling, the Sri Lankan side informed about the measures taken by Sri Lanka in order to prevent illegal fishing. (Colombo Gazette)