When the Parliament resumed sittings yesterday and the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Amendment) Bill was taken up for debate, several members spoke against the poaching being carried out by the Tamil Nadu fishermen within the Sri Lankan maritime territories and criticized the Tamil National Alliance for failing to speak against this crime which cause a great injustice especially to the fishermen living in the North.
Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda said that international norms and rules are blatantly violated by the intruding fishermen from India and the intruders not only illegitimately enter into our territorial waters but also use the internationally banned fishing methods such as bottom trawling and mono-filament nets causing destruction to corals and sea plants including the continental shelf and also disturbing natural and free movements of marine organisms diverting their direction.
He said that these activities have drastically affected the livelihoods of the Northern fishermen. r. Devananda said that he has written letters in this regard to the Indian Prime Minister and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and no action has been taken by them so far. He criticized the Tamil National Alliance for remaining silent about this injustice caused to our local fisher folk.
Parliamentarian Dr. (Mrs.) Sudharshani Fernandopulle while thanking President Mahinda Rajapaksa for liberating two third of the sea for the people to engage in the fisheries industry said that the government has brought about unprecedented development in the fisheries industry. Elaborating about these developments she said that more than 40 anchoring places, 1,400 fresh water harbours, 1,000 salt water harbours, 37 fisheries industry equipment factories etc are set up under this government. She said that more than 1.5 million people make their living under this industry and modern technology has been introduced including vessel monitoring facilities to identify schools of fish etc to the fisher folk. She also said that a pension scheme has been introduced to them and there is a mechanism to grant a Rs. 5,000 allowance to the families of the missing fishermen.
Niroshan Perera of the United National Party thanking the government for developing the fishing industry said that Indian fishermen trespassing our territorial waters and harassing our fishermen have become a menace and criticized the TNA members for not joining the debate and not voicing against the illegal activities of the Indian fishermen.
Ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Felix Perera and several government and opposition members also participated in the debate.