Sri Lanka asks Indian fishers to respect maritime border

Jan 15, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has called upon Indian fishermen to respect maritime boundary while both countries have agreed to faster release of fishermen and “humane treatment” of fisher folk, a joint statement said. The Sri Lanka-India joint working group on fisheries met for annual consultations in Colombo, the fourth year in succession to help iron out an escalating fishing dispute in the island’s northern waters.

The joint statement said the two countries work together to promote fishing “in a safe, secure and sustainable manner, including discouraging fishermen from using destructive fishing methods.

“The need to respect the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) was stressed by the Sri Lankan side,” the statement said.

Sri Lankan authorities have complained earlier that hundreds of Indian fishing vessels – ranging from 700 to 1,000 enter Sri Lankan waters after dark in co-ordinated poaching operations.

Sri Lankan officials have also said that Indian vessels use destructive techniques such as bottom trawling, which are banned in the island’s waters.

Northern waters of Sri Lanka were closed for the island’s fishermen for many years, during a civil war, making it easier for Indian ve