The Marine Food workers of the North staged a protest in front of District Secretariat, Jaffna, demanding to stop the illegal exploitation of marine resources by Indian Companies.
It is reported that with some effective actions against the transgressing Indian Fishermen, by the Sri Lankan Navy marine resources are seem to be on an increasing trend, as per the protesters.
They have handed over a memorandum to Additional Government Agent (Lands),Jaffna, S. Muraleetharan and the Asst. Govt. Agent , S.Sutharsan and the officials at the Department of Fisheries, Jaffna.
The full text of the memorandum is given below:
His Excellency the President,
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
Through : The Government Agent, Jaffna.
Assuring a sustainable livelihood (Employment Opportunity).
We express our heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency the President, Ministry of Defence and Sri Lankan Navy, for safeguarding our marine resources and assuring our sustainable livelihood.
All are aware the Indian Trawlers are exploiting our marine resources for a long time, which had affected our livelihood (Employment opportunity). We undertook two attention drawing demonstrations this year, in front of the Indian Embassy, demanding our marine resources be safeguarded from the destruction by Indian trawlers. We also participated in the post card campaign by 10,000 people aimed at the President.
As a result of these initiatives, under the direction of the President, and through the dedicated services of the Sri Lankan Navy and the Department of Fisheries, our resources had been protected and it is evident that the resources are on the increase. Hundreds of people had find employment during the past month or two because of this.
However, we could see that Indian companies have landed directly here in order to exploit our resources, by way of purchasing and taking our produce to their country and processing the produce there in order to provide employment there.
We welcome them establishing their concerns here immediately and offer all the benefits of their endeavour to our country. Else, all their activities should be stopped forthwith.
Our anticipation is that our resources should form the basis for only our livelihood.
In a context where, the local establishments which are operating for several years are struggling without adequate marine resources for their operations, the competition from foreign companies even for short period will definitely result in the closure of all establishments engaged in this sector.
The Sri Lankan Government should take this into consideration and take action to restrict companies in accordance with the available resources and pave the way for a healthy and long term activity. We strongly believe that through this, the long term livelihood (Employment opportunity) will be assured.
The activities of new and temporarily coming companies should not allowed to affect the livelihood we are permanently depending on.
We remember here about the multi- national marine food related companies which operated in the past in our areas and finally left hundreds of their employees in the lurch. We are afraid that the confusing activities of the newly coming companies will ultimately make the companies which are providing us with livelihood for the past several years, to close down.
Hence the feasibility of the projects of the newly coming companies should be considered, on the basis of by way of providing long term employment in addition to the now available employment opportunity, before allowing them to operate here.
Copies to: The Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The Government Agent, Jaffna.
The Deputy Director, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.