Fishermen Issues Current Affairs

 Coast Guards of India and Pakistan hold talks in New Delhi

India and Pakistan held meeting of their coast guard officials (Indian Coast Guard and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency) held in New Delhi. They addressed issues pertaining to boundary violations by fishermen from both sides and enhancing cooperation in area of maritime search and rescue and combating pollution at sea.

Background

Indian Coast Guard and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in October 2005 for envisaging cooperation between ICG and PMSA. The MoU was extended for five years in 2016.The MoU envisages cooperation through exchange of information on Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) violations, marine pollution, apprehended vessels, natural disasters and calamities, combating smuggling, illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and piracy and coordination in search and rescue and return sea passage. It also established communication link between coast guards of both counteries which is operational. Under provisions of MoU, directors general of PMSA and ICG meet periodically. This annual meeting is significant link between coast guards of two neighbouring countries for addressing issues pertaining to maritime security

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India, Sri Lanka agree to exchange views to find permanent solution to fishermen issues

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.
Background

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.

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