Sri Lanka looks for working group to iron out fishery poaching

Feb 22, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is looking to begin talks through a joint working group with India to find a long term solution to fishery poaching in Sri Lanka’s northern waters, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “We want to re-activate the mechanism of an India and Sri Lanka joint working group to find a long term solution to the problem,” president Rajapaksa told a gathering of editors of media institutions in Colombo.

Earlier this month over 100 Indian fishermen were arrested after being rounded up by Sri Lankan fishermen but later released following diplomatic pressure. There have been protests in India against the Sri Lankan action.

Sri Lankan fishermen have also protested against an Indian consulate in the northern Jaffna city. Indians have accused Sri Lankan authorities of shooting at Indian fishermen, a charge denied by the island.

“Sometimes fishermen chase fish across the border,” President Rajapaksa observed. “When you find fish, fishermen do not care too much about borders.”

President Rajapaksa said when he was fisheries minister he had also taken action to free Sri Lankan fishermen held in India and so had some non-governmental organizations but the activation of joint working gro