Lankan Navy damage GPS, nets of Indian fishermen

| Updated: Nov 25, 2016 18:25 IST

Pamban [India], Nov. 25 (ANI): The Sri Lankan Navy damaged the nets, GPS and other equipment of Indian fishermen near Katchatheevu, an uninhabited island administered by the island nation, earlier today. Following the hostile action, the fishermen were ordered to turn back and set a course for home. This comes after at least 11 Indian fishermen along with their trawlers were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy last week. Earlier this month, an 11-member delegation of Sri Lankan fishermen arrived in Delhi for talks with their Indian counterparts on resolving all issues related to fishing. After holding ministerial level talks, the governments of India and Sri Lanka agreed to set up a hotline between the coast guards and a Joint Working Group (JWG) on fisheries to meet every three months in a bid to address the long pending fishermen issue. Both countries also agreed to hold a meeting between the Ministers for Fisheries every six months. The bone of contention between the two sides is the Palk bay, the 137 kilometers long and its breadth varies between 64 to 137 kilometers. An International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) separates five Indian (262,562 fishermen) and three Sri Lankan districts (119,000 fishermen). The local fishermen in Indian have been demanding a lasting solution to the problem of Sri Lankan Navy apprehending them whenever they are fishing near international maritime boundary line. They want to secure the rights to fish in traditional fishing zones near Kachatheevu and Palk Straits. Fishing is the economic mainstay of northern Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan fishermen has been demanding their Indian counterparts to stop bottom-trawling that they content has been damaging the marine ecosystem. Since 2014 Sri Lanka Navy has seized more than 100 fishing trawlers; while they have released the Indian fishermen, they refuse to release the trawlers. (ANI)