By Ridma Dissanayake
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has not given permission for any country to violate other countries' International Maritime Boundary Lines (IMBL). In such a situation, Sri Lankan fishermen or Indian fishermen have no rights or permission to go beyond their IMBL, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said.
He was addressing a special discussion at the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry on 'Matters of the Northern Provincial Fisheries Industry' recently.
Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters and Sri Lankan fishermen poaching in Indian waters is not only a matter for the fisheries industry. It also harms the long term relations between two countries, he said.
Therefore, fishermen should be careful not to violate the IMBL of their neighbour country, he added.
The minister said: "Indian fishermen are the first group who started to violate the Sri Lankan IMBL. Indian fishermen are harvesting our oyster and sea cucumber resources which give a good income to our country. They are destroying our sea beds, coral reefs and small fish varieties while using huge trawler boats in fishing activities."
They are disrupting the livelihoods of fishermen in the North and East Provinces who suffered over a period of three decades due to the world's most brutal terrorists. At present, they are suffering because of Indian fisherman who are poaching in Sri Lankan waters, Minister Senaratne said. More....