Indian poaching in Sri Lanka waters reduced: fisheries minister

May 09, 2013 (LBO) – Poaching by Indian fishing vessels in Sri Lanka’s northern waters is now much reduced, fishermen in the island have been warned not to go into other territories, fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne said. “In the north fishermen are now much happier,” Senaratne told reporters in Colombo.

“They had two problems. They earlier had to get a pass from the Navy for which they had to queue up for two or three hours. The new Navy commander cancelled it following talks with us.

“The second problem was poaching by Indian fishermen. They used to come to about four nautical miles from the coast and take all the fish. Not only that they destroy the seabed though bottom trawling.”

Bottom trawling was banned in Sri Lanka and fishermen used to complain how it was banned for them and Indians were doing it, he said.

Senaratne said up to a 1000 Indian vessels used to slip into Sri Lankan waters each day on some occasions compared to about 50 Sri Lankan vessels.

But now they were being arrested by the Navy and being produced in court.

“Now poaching is reduced,” Senaratne said. “So India is also now taking tough action against our fishermen going to their waters. That is to be expected,”