By Ridma Dissanayake
The government has taken several measures to prevent Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters and ensure Northern and Eastern fishermen's livelihoods, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development
Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. "Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters and harvesting the fish resource belonging to Sri Lankan fishermen have become a serious matter. The Presidential Task Force on Fishing Activities has taken several measures to prevent Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters after discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa," he said.
The Sri Lanka Navy, Coast Guard and Police launched a joint effort to protect Sri Lankan waters for Sri Lankan fishermen while preventing Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan seas, he added.
"According to the International Maritime Law, no country has the right to violate the International Maritime Boundary Lines (IMBL) of another country without permission. These rules and regulations apply to fishermen as well. That is why the Indian Coast Guard arrest Sri fishermen and Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard arrest Indian fishermen within their IMBL," the minister said.
"No government can force other governments to release arrested fishermen. We cannot challenge the International Maritime Law. Sri Lanka and India have understood the situation and the condition of the International Maritime Law. In such a situation we are looking forward to holding discussions between the two countries and arriving at effective solution for the problem," Senaratne said.