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India Releases 27 Sri Lankan Fishermen and Five Trawlers

Sustainability Politics +2 more

SRI LANKA and INDIA - The Ministry of Fisheries informed that the Indian authorities will release 27 Sri Lankan fishermen and five trawlers and they are expected to arrive in the country tomorrow.

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According to the Ministry spokesman, the fishermen were arrested and their boats were seized by the Indian Coast Guard last month for poaching in Indian waters off the Tamil Nadu coast.

Another 21 fishermen and four trawlers await release by the Indian authorities after formal legal procedures. Some of them are facing court cases filed in the provinces of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

The five fishing vessels, Kapila Putha, Podi Malli, Nikini, Minoli 06 and Charuni 02 were seized for crossing the IMB along with the 27-member crew on April 19 and 24 respectively. The fishermen and their vessels were taken into custody in the seas off Tamil Nadu when they crossed the International Maritime Boundary.

India agreed to release the fishermen and their vessels following the intervention made by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Dr Rajitha Senaratne. The Minister said that his Ministry spent nearly Rs. 3 million per year for the welfare of fishermen and for the air tickets.

If the fishermen were made aware about the International Maritime Border such large sums of money could have been diverted to the development of the fishing industry in Sri Lanka. Dr Senaratna requested fishermen, owners of fishing vessels and multi-day fishing boats not to cross IMB under any circumstances.