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Sunday 29 March 2020
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Transgressing Indian Trawlers continue to destroy our resources and livelihood everyday: Accuses Northern Province Fisher people’s Unity

Transgressing Indian Trawlers continue to destroy our resources and livelihood everyday: Accuses Northern Province Fisher people’s Unity

Northern Province Fisher people’s Unity in a media release accused of  Tamilnaadu fishermen of continuing to destroy marine resources while illegally harvesting Sri Lanka’s marine resources.

“Despite discussions with Tamil Nadu boat owner in Chennai and New Delhi, hundreds of Tamil Nadu trawlers continue to destroy our marine resources while illegally harvesting Sri Lanka’s marine resources. This illegally harvested catch is then exported as ‘Product of India seafood “says the  Northern Province Fisher people’s Unity.

The full text of the media release appears below:

Despite the many protests and demonstrations by Sri Lankan fishermen in northern Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu boat owners continue to send hundreds of trawlers to fish illegally in the our fishing grounds every day. Despite discussions with Tamil Nadu boat owner in Chennai and New Delhi, hundreds of Tamil Nadu trawlers continue to destroy our marine resources while illegally harvesting Sri Lanka’s marine resources. This illegally harvested catch is then  exported by as ‘Product of India’ seafood. Despite bilateral meetings in Colombo and New Delhi between the central governments of Sri Lanka and India, thousands of Tamil Nadu trawlers continue to defy Sri Lanka sovereignty every month, by fishing illegal on the Sri Lankan side of the International Maritime Boundary Line that separates Sri Lanka from India in the Palk Bay.

More than 20,000 Sri Lankan fishermen in the north continue to suffer loss of livelihood due to illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing by hundreds of Tamil Nadu. 200,000 members of fishing households are deprives of as much as Sri Lankan Rupees 6 billion (US$ 41 million) in direct income due to relentless IUU fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters.

This week we have written to the f of Sri Lankan fishermen in the north we have recently written to the Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources asking him to take stronger action to deter Tamil Nadu boat owners from sending their trawlers to fish illegally in Sri Lankan waters. We have asked the Minister to start prosecuting Tamil Nadu boat owners under the Regulation (Foreign Fishing Boats) Act of 1979 and to stop prosecuting Indian fish workers under the Immigrants and Emigrants Act 1943. It is our belief that a stronger deterrent aimed at Tamil Nadu boat owners would bring to an end IUU fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters.

This week we have also written to Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, the High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka humbly requesting him to arrange a meeting for northern Sri Lankan fishermen with the Prime Minister of India, NarendraModi during his visit to Sri Lanka next week.  India has been a good friend to Sri Lankan living in the north and many successful projects have been completed and more are planned with the assistance of the Government of India. Unfortunately persistent IUU fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters continues to sour the respect and admiration Sri Lankan living in the North have for Indian assistance to help us recover our lives and livelihoods after almost thirty years of civil conflict. In our letter to the High Commissioner, we call upon the Prime Minister to take more meaningful action to bring to an end IUU fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters.

This week we have also written to the Ambassador Tung-Lai Margue, head of the delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives calling upon the European Commission to raise the issue of IUU fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lanka should he or any of his colleagues meet with Prime Minster Modi and his staff during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Sri Lanka next week. The European Commission took a pro-active and effective approach to address IUU fishing by Sri Lankan high seas fishing vessels in January 2015, which resulted in rapid progress and the eradication of IUU fishing by Sri Lankan by June 2016. We call upon the EU to adopt a similar approach to bring to an end IUU fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters.

For more than 30 years Sri Lankan fishermen and their families in the north of Sri Lanka suffered emotionally, physically, socially and economically due to the civil conflict. At the end of the conflict we had high hopes of rapidly recovering our lives and livelihoods and rebuilding our communities. IUU fishing by thousands of Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters every month has and continues to dash our hopes of recovery and development. For these reasons we call upon the Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera,High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Ambassador Tung-Lai Margue to take effective measure to end IUU fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters with immediate effect.


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