Sri Lanka will uphold ban on illegal Indian fishermen, Rs.1 bn loss daily: Minister

Apr 07, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s is losing one billion rupees daily due to illegal fishing by Indian fishermen in Island’s Northern waters,Minister of fisheries said.

The new regime also plans to strongly uphold its ban on foreigners fishing in the Indian Ocean Island’s waters.
“During recent discussions with Indian fishermen, they asked for 83 days per year for three years to fish in our territorial waters,”

“But we will not allow this,” Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Mahinda Amaraweera said.

“We are losing one billion rupees a day, this is what their catch is worth,”

“This is a drain on the earnings of our fishermen.”

He said about 60,000 people in the North of the Island depend on fishing for their livelihood.

“The Indian groups assured they will fish five nautical miles off the Sri Lankan coast,”

The Islands fisheries industry contributes significantly to the nutrition, employment and even foreign exchange earnings of the country therefore the industries sustainability has become a primary concern in economic development of the country.

Sri Lanka perceives illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) as a serious threat to the sustainability of fisheries in both national jurisdictions and high seas, and agrees that such fishing has to be prevented, deterred and eliminated.

“As of now the Navy has 27 boats and 37 Indian fishermen in their custody,”Amaraweera said.

“And now we have decided to also confiscate their tools and nets in addition to their boats as this will also be a further deterrent for them.”