Colombo, Dec 22 (NIA) – Seventeen Indian fishermen were arrested for illegally poaching in Sri Lankan waters on Thursday, resulting in 36 Indian fishermen being arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy this week.
The navy media unit said that the 17 Indian fishermen were arrested North West and South West of Delft Island, in the island’s northern seas. Three Indian fishing trawlers were also taken into custody.
“Having brought the arrested fishermen and trawlers to Kankesanthurai, they were handed over to the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Jaffna for onward legal action,” the navy said.
On Tuesday, the Sri Lanka Navy assisted the Sri Lanka Coast guard to arrest seven Indian fishermen Northwest of Delft Island while on Wednesday a further 12 were arrested in the South of Thalaimannar.
Four fishing trawlers were also taken into custody following both the arrests.
The latest arrests came after the Sri Lankan government on Monday said they had recorded 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.
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 has caused a huge threat to the Sri Lankan fishing industry, the Minister stated.
Sri Lanka and India are expected to hold a fresh round of discussions to resolve the longstanding fishing issue next month with the Indian Foreign Minister and Fisheries Minister expected to attend the talks in Colombo.