India and Sri Lanka have expressed confidence for finding a long-lasting solution to the issue of fishermen between the two countries.
In this regard, talks co-chaired by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Sri Lankan fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera were held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
A joint communiqué issued after the meeting mentioning
- It has reached an understanding to ensure that there was no physical harm or loss of life while arresting fishermen for poaching into each other’s waters.
- India will phase out bottom trawling, practiced mainly by fishermen from Tamilnadu in a graded time-bound manner.
- Sri Lankan to consider the request from Indian side to immediately release the fishing vessels in each other’s custody.
- Both countries to operationalize a hotline between the two coast guards and to set up a Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to release the fishermen in each other’s custody.
The fishermen issue between India and Sri Lanka has been lingering for long. Fishermen from Southern states of India have been demanding release of their fellow fishermen and trawlers. Sri Lanka has been asserting that bottom trawling used by Indian fishermen has caused extensive damage to the marine eco system. Earlier both countries had agreed to resolve the issue through a structured mechanism of meetings between both sides. For this they had agreed to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Fisheries and annual meeting of foreign ministers of both countries.