Sri Lanka, India talks to end poaching issue

Mar 15, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is to send a team of officials to India for talks on ending poaching by Indian fishermen in the island’s northern waters, fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne said. “We hope to sign an agreement with India,” he told a news conference. “We are confident we can resolve this problem in a manner favourable to Sri Lanka.”

Poaching by south Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka’s northern waters became a diplomatic issue recently with the Sri Lankan navy accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen, a charge Sri Lanka has denied.

Sri Lankan fishermen also resorted to detaining a large number of Indian poachers, who were subsequently free after Indian diplomatic pressure.

Senaratne said the problem arose because fishermen tend to chase shoals of fish disregarding maritime borders.

The Sri Lankan team headed by the fisheries ministry secretary and including officials from the foreign ministry and navy will visit New Delhi on March 27 for the first round of talks.

“We have given evidence of poaching by Indian fishermen, such as hourly satellite pictures of intrusions in our northern waters,” Senaratne said. “We have also submitted photographs of poachers