Colombo, Dec 21 (Xinhua) – The Sri Lanka Navy assisted the Sri Lanka Coast Guard to arrest 12 Indian fishermen in the South of Thalaimannar in the island’s northern seas on Wednesday, the navy media unit said here.
The arrest follows after seven Indian fishermen were also arrested for illegally poaching in the northern seas on Tuesday.
The navy said that two Indian fishing trawlers were also taken into custody.
“Having brought the arrested fishermen and trawlers to Mannar, they were handed over to the Department of Fisheries, Mannar for onward action,” the navy said.
The latest arrests came after Sri Lanka, on Monday said that there had been a 50 percent drop in poaching by Indian trawlers in Sri Lankan waters due to enhanced patrolling by the Sri Lankan Navy and coast guard.
The main reason for the decrease is the arrests made by Sri Lanka Navy and coast guard, Minister of Fisheries, Mahinda Amaraweera said, in a statement.
The Minister said at least three Indian fishing boats enter Sri Lankan waters every week, which is nearly 5,000 fishing boats entering Sri Lankan waters illegally each year.
“This is a huge threat to the Sri Lankan fishing industry,” the Minister said.
The Minister further said that Sri Lanka and India will have more talks next month to seek a solution on the long standing dispute between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen.
He said the Indian Foreign Minister and Fisheries Minister were expected to attend the talks in Colombo next month.