Livelihood of Northern fisherfolk hit | Sunday Observer
More poaching by Indian fishing vessels

Livelihood of Northern fisherfolk hit

4 July, 2021

The livelihood of the Northern fisherfolk has been affected to a great extent due to the increase in poaching by Indian fishing vessels in the Northern waters of the country following the end of the fish breeding season, said Head of the Northern Fishers’ Association, N. Varnakulasingam.

The Association released a statement yesterday calling on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to adopt proper measures to keep away Indian fishermen. According to the statement, the Indian fishermen crossing the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) pose a big threat to the fisherfolk in the North by not only fishing extensively but also destroying the biodiversity in the seas in the North by using their high-powered fishing trawlers. A large number of Indian fishing vessels had been spotted in the Northern territorial waters in the past few weeks.

Some Indian vessels have even come up to Delft and other islets in the Northern waters despite the sea patrols carried out by the Navy, according to Northern fisherfolk.

Several Associations representing the Northern fisherfolk have said it was the Northern fisherfolk who suffered immensely during the three-decade battle against terrorism in the North and the East. With the end of terrorism ten years ago, they are gradually building their livelihoods and they see the Indian fishermen in the Northern waters as a huge threat to them. Indian fishing trawlers have even damaged the fishing nets of the fisherfolk and hundreds of fishermen have been affected due to the Indian trawlers.

According to Navy sources, Indian fishing vessels wouldn’t have come into Sri Lankan waters in the past few months due to the breeding period of marine life. But now they must be entering Sri Lankan waters as the breeding period is over and the Navy will intensify patrolling.

Varnakulasingam has sent his statement on the threat posed by the Indian fishermen to the Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda as well.