Navy arrests 54 Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters

The Navy has arrested 54 Indian fishermen and detained five boats for poaching in Sri Lankan waters, the Navy media unit said.

The Sri Lanka Navy said that the arrest was made yesterday (Wednesday) in separate areas in the Northern seas.

“Having considered the impact of foreign fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters on the local fishing community and the sustainability of fishery resources of Sri Lanka, the Navy is conducting regular patrols to curb illegal fishing activities in Sri Lankan waters,” the Navy said.

Navy units attached to the Northern Naval Command nabbed a large Indian fishing vessel with 14 personnel onboard, about 03 nautical miles off the coast of Kovilan, Jaffna. The seized vessel had a steel hull which was 75ft long and 22ft wide and possessed an engine of approximately 280 hp, capable of harvesting a huge fish stock with its motorized trawls.

According to the Navy, 1030kg of illegally caught fish and fishing gear were also seized by the Navy.

Meanwhile, the North Central Naval Command detained two more Indian fishing vessels with 20 fishermen about 7 nautical miles off Pesalai, Mannar and 5 nautical miles off the Iranativu Island.

The Eastern Naval Command, meanwhile, seized two Indian fishing vessels with 20 fishermen about 7.5 and 8.5 nautical miles off Mullaitivu.

“The illegal entry of foreign fishermen into Sri Lankan waters and the use of prohibited fishing methods like bottom trawling to catch even very small fish has seriously threatened the marine ecosystem and endanger the livelihood of fishermen in the northern part of the island. Accordingly, the Navy has previously informed the Indian authorities when similar incidents of trawling by Indian fishermen were reported, realizing the damage it causes to the fisheries and marine environment of Sri Lanka,” the Navy media unit said.

The Navy said the patrols were carried out adhering to safety and health guidelines in place for the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus. (Colombo Gazette)